A Brief Overview Of COPD


Chronic obstruction pulmonary disease is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. It is a combination of various lung diseases that causes air obstruction in the air passages; it also destroys the air sacs in the lungs making it difficult to breathe. The major disorders that causes chronic obstruction pulmonary disease is chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Many patients with COPD are diagnosed with both.

Chronic bronchitis also known as “blue bloater” is the persistent inflammation of the air passage tubes in the lungs which result into recurrent cough and production of mucus in large amounts. The cell lining the airways stops working properly when they are irritated past a certain point resulting to production of large amounts of mucus. Excess mucus clogs air passage tubes resulting to heavy coughs.

Emphysema also known as “pink puffer” is the persistent damage of the lungs which results from the destruction of tissues in the alveoli. Lungs can be damaged by cigarette smoke or persistent coughing. The walls of the alveoli become weak and less functional. Lungs damage may continue until it is impaired which is dangerous to human life.

Causes

  • Smoking cigarette
  • Air pollution
  • Industrial chemical fumes
  • Repeated lung irritations or infections
  • Working in dusty environment without wearing protection musks

Symptoms

The symptoms of chronic obstruction pulmonary disease appear when the disease has progressed to the far extent. The disease develops over a number of years, symptoms are only seen when it is too late. Here are the symptoms of copd:

  • High whistling sound in the chest
  • Persistent production of excess mucus
  • Dry coughing
  • Swelling of the legs and ankles
  • Hardship in exhaling
  • Chest pain
  • Blue –purple complexion

Treatment

  • Stop smoking and avoid smoky rooms
  • Drink a lot of water to reduce mucus secretions. Don’t drink coffee and alcohol, they can lead to dehydration.
  • Avoid going out on cold seasons or days when the quality of air is poor
  • Don’t use any drugs to suppress coughing. Coughing clears mucus accumulated in the lungs
  • Do some breathing exercises
  • With extensive lung damage, transplant may be required

Stages

To determine the stage of chronic obstruction pulmonary disease, the doctor has to use aspirotomy (a breathing test). The test shows how your lungs work. It is an easy test and it is not painful. The patient breathes hard into a machine called a spirometer which measures how your lungs can hold air. The severity of COPD is determined based on a spirometry tests. The various COPD stages include:

  • At risk: In this stage the breathing test is normal but COPD could be developing. The symptoms at this stage include sputum production and chronic cough
  • Mild chronic obstruction pulmonary disease: At this stage, breathing tests shows a mild airflow limitation. Symptoms include sputum production and chronic cough. At this stage it’s hard to realize that the air flow has reduced
  • Moderate chronic obstruction pulmonary disease: At this stage, breathing test shows the worsening air flow limitation. Symptoms at this stage have increased. You start experiencing shortness of breath when you walk fast or run, working hard and any other activities that requires a lot of energy. You are advised to seek medical attention at this stage.
  • Severe chronic obstruction pulmonary disease: At this stage, breathing test shows severe limitation of the airflow. You start experiencing short of breath even after a little activity. Symptoms like right sided heart failure and respiratory failure may develop. Life is impaired at this stage and the symptoms are life threatening