Health and Fitness

Everything You NeedTo Know About Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is basically a bunch of progressive lung diseases which is often denoted as COPD. The two most common conditions under it are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Most of the COPD sufferers deal with both of these conditions.

Presence of emphysema slightly destroys the air sacs within the lungs that consequently interfere with the outward flow of air. On a different path the presence of chronic bronchitis leads to inflammation and narrowing of bronchial tubes that lead the permission to mucus for building up.

The main reason according to science for COPD is smoking tobacco. However, it is the disease which takes quite a long time to be developed.

Symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

COPD makes breathing harder for the sufferer. The symptoms related to it are mild in the very beginning i.e. problem in breathing and intermittent coughing. The early symptoms of COPD are mostly confused by the cold.

Early symptoms of COPD

  • Intermittent shortness of breath, preferably right after exercising
  • A regular cough but mild
  • In need of clearing the throat often, especially in mornings

Mid symptoms of COPD

  • Tightness in chest
  • Getting tired easily
  • Often suffering from cold, flu and different respiratory infections
  • The requirement of cleaning mucus from lungs regularly

Symptoms in later stages

  • Weight loss
  • Swelling in legs, ankles or feet
  • Feeling fatigue all time

Causes of COPD

The cause of COPD found in the developed countries is cigarette smoking. Near around 90% of COPD sufferers are found to be smokers and around 40% of the COPD sufferers are aged above 40 and have a long history of smoking. Therefore it can be said that the risk of COPD is partially dependent upon the smoking of tobacco. Apart from just cigarette smoking; pipe smoke and cigar smoke can be also a leading reason behind catching COPD.

Another minority of the reason behind developing COPD situation can be exposing to fumes and chemicals or breathing in polluted air and inhaling the dust.

Diagnosing COPD

Till now there is no specific COPD test, therefore the diagnosis is partially dependent upon the symptoms and a physical test. Hence it is quite necessary to expose all the symptoms before the doctor and tell them if –

  • Either you are a smoker or a have a history
  • You have COPD family history
  • You are a patient of asthma or any other respiratory disease
  • Goes through lungs irritants in day

At the time of physical examination, the doctor would be using a stethoscope for listening to the lungs as the sufferer would be breathing and would recommend some test in accordance with the information gathered.

1. Treatment of COPD

The treatment of COPD is very much important to live a healthy life ahead. The treatment will be easing the symptoms, preventing further complications and also cutting down the progress of this slow disease. Here are some top rated treatments available for curing COPD.

2. Medication

Bronchodilators are the medications which are helpful in relaxing the muscles. These medications are usually consumed with the help of an inhaler or say nebulizer. In order to cut down the risk of respiratory infections, it is better to ask the doctor that whether to engage yearly flu shot and pneumococcal which include appropriate protection from the cough or not.

3. Oxygen Therapy

In case the level of blood oxygen is too low then engaging supplemental oxygen with the help of a nasal or mask in the option available. Preferring a portable unit of it would make it easier for the sufferer to stick around. 

4. Surgery

Surgery is the only option left when all the treatments have failed. It usually takes place when the person is having form emphysema. There are several sorts of surgeries; depending on the condition of the patient.

  • Bullectomy is a sort of surgery under which the surgeons remove the abnormal and large air spaces from lungs.
  • Another surgery is lung volume reduction; it is conducted for removing the damaged lung tissues.
  • Even lung transplantation is the last option left in some cases.

Changes in lifestyle

There are some certain lifestyle changes which can be helpful for overcoming COPD

  • The most obvious one is – try smoking less; there are even some specific products and services available for support.
  • Prefer getting all the nutrition that the body needs; doctor and dietician can help make a good healthy eating plan.
  • Start doing exercise and concern your doctor about it.

Diet recommendation for COPD

Diet is one of the keys for a better rehab program. Now there is no specific diet plan for COPD; however, it better to choose amongst a good variety of nutritious foods mentioned below –

  • Dairy
  • Protein
  • Grains
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables

One more concern about diet is that – a full stomach can be the reason behind lungs problems as it makes harder for lungs to expand. It also leaves the person to shorten of breath. In case the COPD also faces any situation then prefer

  • Clearing the airway about an hour ago before consuming a meal
  • Taking small bites of the meal which can be easily chewed and swallowed
  • Turn three meals a day program to five or six meals program a day

Stages of COPD

One gauge of the COPD is achieved by spirometry grading system and there are several grading systems. These grading systems are a part of the GOLD classification; that is used to determine the COPD severity and consequently help in forming a better plan for treatment.

The four GOLD grades based on spirometry testing are as follow-

  • Grade 1 – Mild
  • Grade 2 – Moderate
  • Grade 3 – Severe
  • Grade 4 – Very severe

As the COPD make progress, the sufferer is susceptible to face complications like –

  • More heart problems
  • Chances of lung cancer 
  • Anxiety and depression conditions
  • Increased blood pressure within the lungs
  • Often respiratory infections