COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease )
What is COPD?
Did you know that the trick to a long and healthy life is to just keep on breathing? Sometimes simple things like breathing get hindered due to various conditions. One such disease of the lung is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
In short, the disease is the obstruction of airflow in the lung that makes it very hard for you to breathe. "COPD" is a broader term used when you have a single or a cumulative of some conditions.
What are these paired conditions?
During this condition, the air sacs situated in the lungs get inflated. Eventually, the inner walls of the alveoli tear, thus creating a larger air space instead of a small one. Inevitably this leads to a reduced surface area in the lungs. This can decrease the amount of oxygen that reaches your blood.
- Chronic Bronchitis
Emphysema is often paired with chronic bronchitis, in a sense, where people with Emphysema also may have chronic bronchitis. This pairing is what we would call COPD.
Cause and Symptoms!
There are several evident causes of COPD:
- Smoking- This plays a substantial role in COPD. More than half of the population who have Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have smoked before.
- Long-term exposure to irritants- Secondhand smoke plays a secondary role in COPD. Even if you don't smoke, the intended active smoker can cause harm to you. Yet another reason why you shouldn't smoke.
- Various miscellaneous factors like age, genetics, and even a history of asthma may be a cause.
The symptoms of the disease may include:
- Coughing that may produce mucus
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness or uneasiness in your chest
- A squeaky sound when you breath
- Frequent respiratory infections
In a few cases, COPD can also cause swelling in your ankles, feet, or legs. There are a few cases of weight loss too.
How will the doctor respond?
If you feel like you have any of the symptoms, do not hesitate to consult a medical expert. We have the best Pulmonologist to help you give an accurate diagnosis and a great prognosis.
COPD can be misdiagnosed in the early stages. But don't worry. Your doctor may conduct a variety of tests to pinpoint the underlying condition. The first response would be to check your and your family's medical history. Then the doctor will discuss any exposure you had to lung irritants.
A lung function test can be carried out. For example- Spirometry, where you blow into a large tube connected to a machine to measure your lung capacity and how fast you can blow out the air.
A chest X-ray or CT scan is also one of the tests.
Arterial blood gas analysis is a blood test used to measure how well your lungs bring oxygen into the blood and eliminate carbon dioxide. Many other lab tests can determine the involvement of genetics in the disease.
Treatment for a healthier breath!
- A positive change- The best treatment would be to bring about a change in your lifestyle. Quit smoking if you are a smoker. Avoid places that may give you access to secondhand smoke. Make a better and nutritious eating plan. Do yoga or some physical activity that involves breathing exercises.
- Medication- You can make use of Bronchodilators, which help the muscles around the airways relax. Use of steroids to reduce inflammation. Vaccination for infectious diseases of the lung. Antibiotic is a general remedy administered in case of an infection.
- Pulmonary rehabilitation- It is a specialized regimen of exercise and awareness. It is to aid people with COPD and other respiratory problems.
Surgery is the very last resort for severe symptomatic cases of COPD.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is manageable using a well-devised treatment plan. We have with us medical experts that are proficient in what they do. Go for a second expert opinion if you are unsure about your well-being.