- by Specialist Hospital
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- Sep 28 2017
Diagnosis and Treatment of COPD
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is actually not just one but a group of progressive lung diseases. Now, what is a progressive disease? Well, Wiki says “Progressive disease or progressive illness is a disease or physical ailment whose course in most cases is the worsening, growth, or spread of the disease.” They can be of 2 types :
Rapidly progressive (typically days to weeks) or
Slowly progressive (months to years).
The most common COPDs are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Emphysema causes the destruction of the fragile walls and elastic fibers of the alveoli. Small airways collapse when you exhale, impairing airflow out of your lungs. In chronic bronchitis, bronchial tubes become inflamed and narrowed and your lungs produce more mucus, which can further block the narrowed tubes. You develop a chronic cough trying to clear your airways. Many people with COPD have both of these conditions. People with COPD are at increased risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer and a variety of other conditions.
Shortness of breath, especially while physically exerting.
Feeling tight in the chest.
Excess mucus in your lungs.
A recurrent or a chronic cough.
A chronic cough that may produce mucus (sputum) that may be clear, white, yellow or greenish.
The blueness of the lips or fingernail beds (cyanosis).
Frequent respiratory infections.
Lack of energy and feeling inactive.
Swelling in ankles, feet or legs.
Loss of weight.
Because it's hard to breathe, staying active with COPD can be difficult and limits things such as the ability to work, normal physical exertion, household chores or even sleeping.
tobacco smoking is the most common cause.
exposed to fumes from burning fuel.
heating in poorly ventilated homes.
workers exposed to mine dust or asbestos for long periods of time.
Unlike some diseases, COPD has a clear cause and a clear path of prevention. The majority of cases are directly related to cigarette smoking, and the best way to prevent COPD is to never smoke — or to stop smoking now.
Many treatments are prescribed for COPD like:
Smoking cessation: A no-brainer, it is very important to stop smoking and is the first step in the treatment of COPD.
Medications: these usually come in inhalers and the commonly used ones are bronchodilators, combination inhalers, inhaled steroids etc.
In moderate or severe cases, lung therapies like oxygen therapy or pulmonary rehab are also prescribed.
In even more extreme cases, surgeries or even lung transplant may be the only choice.
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