COPD Disease: Causes, Symptoms and Prevention
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a blanket term used to describe a disease that causes breathing difficulty. There are two main forms of the disease: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Asthma and various forms of bronchiectasis may also be involved in this disease. Breathlessness is this disease's main character.
The condition that blocks the airflow from the lungs is chronic bronchitis. The presence of daily coughing and mucus identifies this condition. It is basically the area's infection that carries air from and into the lungs ' air sacs.
Emphysema is a disease mostly caused by cigarette smoking or intense second - hand smoking. In such condition, the harmful smoke inhaled destroys the air sac at the end of the smallest passage of the lungs.
Factors causing COPD:
COPD commonly occurs in people with smoking history. Smoking is considered to be COPD's primary factor. Second - hand smoking is also considered one of COPD's causes.
Harmful indoor air pollution caused by fumes, chemicals or dust as well as air pollution from the outside contributes to the occurrence of COPD. In a person with long - term contact with lung irritant at home, including organic cooking fuels, it also occurs. "Biomass fuels used by women to cook account for the high prevalence of COPD among non - smoking women in parts of the Middle East, Africa and Asia," according to the WHO.
Even if a person has not smoked or been in contact with the pollutant for a long time, they may also be the victim of the COPD. "The most commonly known genetic risk factor for emphysema 2 is the Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (AATD)," according to the COPD Foundation. For all people who are victims of OCPD, the World Health Organization and the American Thoracic Society recommend testing for Alpha-1.
The COPD symptoms will not fully appear if full lung damage has not occurred. The deterioration may occur when the individual is exposed to continuous smoke. COPD's main signs and symptoms are:
- Shortness of breath during or even after physical activity
- Breathing difficulty in breathing, panting, having to clear the throat most of the time due to the presence of excess mucus in the throat.
- Low energy level
- Chest tightness
- Swelling in the feet, ankle and leg area
- Bluish skin, nail and lip discoloration
- Persistent cough that contains mucus (sputum) which may be clear, yellowish or greenish.
People with COPD also experience episodes called Exacerbations which makes the symptoms worse and it may last for several days at times. Persistent cough that contains mucus (sputum) which may be clear, yellowish or greenish. People with COPD also experience episodes called Exacerbations which makes the symptoms worse and it may last for several days at times.
Prevention and Cure:
COPD diagnosis is just the end of life. There may be some condition in the beginning phase that can be prevented if you stop smoking. Through constructive therapy and total elimination of nicotine, even the advanced phase can be reduced. WHO has listed four step process to both prevent and cure COPD. According to WHO “An effective COPD management plan includes four components: (1) assess and monitor disease; (2) reduce risk factors; (3) manage stable COPD; (4) manage exacerbations”.
It can be both prevention and cure for COPD at the end of smoking. You can consult your doctor about nicotine replacement product for the total elimination of smoking habit.
Medicines for more advanced COPD can be used as a cure. Most of the drugs are in the form of inhalers that the person with COPD should inhale. Drugs such as ; bronchodilators, inhaled steroids and combination of both inhalers are also sometimes used as a COPD cure. Moreover, Oral steroids, Phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors Theophylline, Antibiotics are the medicines that can also be used to cure acute exacerbations and prevent them.
Physicians also use lung therapies such as: oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation program, to cure severe to medium COPD.
Surgery may also be the last resort for a severe COPD. Surgery such as reduction of lung volume: where the doctor removes the damaged upper lung tissue so that the healthy tissue can expand. Bullectomy is also one of the operations that removes large spaces from the lungs to improve air flow to the lungs.
Lung transplant may be another solution, but there is a risk of paralysis and death caused by organ rejection.