Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease often referred to as “COPD” is a condition in which the airways in the lungs become inflamed and narrowed and air bags become affected. The most frequent cause of COPD is cigarettes smoking. When the lungs get more weakened over time, breathing becomes more difficult. If the damage is severe, it can also become more difficult for the lungs to bring enough oxygen into the blood and to get rid of extra carbon dioxide. These changes result in shortness of breath and other symptoms.
The term COPD also includes chronic bronchitis (inflammation of the bronchial tubes causing recurrent cough) and emphysema (damage of the air sacs).
CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS OF COPD
COPD is caused by the inhalation of irritating gasses and contaminants for several years. Tobacco smoking is the most prevalent cause, while passive exposure to smoke (i.e. second-hand smoke) or breathing in other fumes (e.g. indoor fires, air pollution) may also contribute. Genetic vulnerability is also likely to play a role, which means that some people are more likely to suffer lung damage when exposed to irritants such as cigarette smoke. COPD is permitted to run in households. Genetic risk factors for COPD include extreme alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a protein that protects the lungs.
SYMPTOMS OF COPD
Coughing and spitting up phlegm (mucus)
Wheezing (a whistling or squeaking noise as you breathe)
Shortness of breath, at first with activity and eventually (as the disease progresses) at rest
While symptoms escalate steadily as COPD progresses, some patients also suffer "exacerbations." This is when symptoms flare up worse than normal and may need further medication for a few days or weeks.
WAYS TO REDUCE THE RISK OF COMPLICATIONS OF COPD
The first and most critical part of any COPD recovery strategy is to stop smoking if you smoke. This is real, no matter how advanced the condition is. Stopping smoking will help delay the growth of COPD, no matter how long you've had it. Quitting smoking can be a struggle, but the health care professional can help.
LEARNING PROPER INHALER TECHNIQUE
Many of the medicines used to treat COPD come with inhalers. Some patients even come with a nebulizer, which is a tube that turns the drug into a thin cloud that you breathe in. There are various types of inhaler systems and nebulizers, each involving a slightly different procedure for successful use. Your health care professional will help educate you how to use your inhaler to ensure that all medicines are administered to your lungs. You're going to feel more relaxed using the inhaler with the practice.
Pulmonary rehabilitation programs teach you ways to better relieve your symptoms. This can include education about your disease, fitness therapy, social care, and breathing strategies. Programs can vary, but many include holding meetings once or twice a week for 8 to 12 weeks. At the conclusion of the program, you will be given a prescription" to begin the activities on your own.
This program have been found to increase the capacity of a person to exercise, improve the quality of life and reduce the incidence of COPD exacerbations (when symptoms flare up more than usual). And people with extreme shortness of breath can benefit from a recovery program.
PREVENTING AND TREATING INFECTIONS
Being sick with respiratory infection will lead to exacerbations of COPD. Having all the recommended vaccines is a vital part of controlling your COPD. This may include pneumococcal vaccine, flu vaccine, or pertussis vaccine.
Any patients with advanced COPD are unable to eat sufficiently because of their symptoms. Unintentional weight loss typically happens in individuals with more severe lung disease. Not consuming enough may lead to malnutrition, which can intensify symptoms and increase the risk of infection. Speak to a health care professional if you have trouble eating enough even if you lose weight without trying.
Regularly visiting your health care provider is a vital aspect of controlling your COPD. Your provider will speak to you about your conditions, how well your medication performs, and if you have any other health issues that could impair your COPD. How much you can see that your physician may rely on your particular condition and fitness, but you are expected to have appointments at least every few months.