Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

COPD in smokers

COPD Meaning

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common lung disease. Having COPD makes it difficult to breathe.

There are two primary forms of COPD:

  • Chronic bronchitis, which involves a long-term cough with mucus
  • Emphysema, which involves damage to the lungs in time
  • Most people with COPD have a combination of both conditions.

Causes of COPD

Smoking is the primary reason for COPD. The more a person smokes, the most likely that individual will develop COPD. But some people smoke for years and never get COPD.

In rare cases, nonsmokers who do not have a protein called alpha-1 antitrypsin can establish emphysema.

Other risk factors for COPD are:

  • Direct exposure to certain gases or fumes in the workplace
  • Direct exposure to heavy amounts of pre-owned smoke and pollution
  • Frequent use of a cooking fire without correct ventilation

COPD Symptoms and Signs

Symptoms might include any of the following:

  • Cough, with or without mucous
  • Tiredness
  • Many respiratory infections
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea) that gets worse with mild activity
  • Difficulty catching one’s breath
  • Wheezing

Because the symptoms establish slowly, some people may unknown that they have COPD.

Diagnosis

The best test for COPD is a lung function test called spirometry. This involves burning out as hard as possible into a little machine that checks lung capability. The outcomes can be examined immediately.

Using a stethoscope to pay attention to the lungs can also be useful. But sometimes, the lungs sound typical, even when a person has COPD.

Imaging tests of the lungs, such as x-rays and CT scans, can be handy. With an x-ray, the lungs might look normal, even when an individual has COPD. A CT scan will generally show signs of COPD.

In some cases, a blood test called arterial blood gas may be done to measure the amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Picture of Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Treatment for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

There is no remedy for COPD. But there are numerous things you can do to ease symptoms and keep the disease from getting worse.

If you smoke, now is the time to quit. This is the best method to slow lung damage.

Medicines used to treat COPD consist of:

  • Inhalers (bronchodilators) COPD– quick-relief drugs to assist open the air passages
  • Breathed in COPD– control drugs or oral steroids to decrease lung inflammation
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs to minimize swelling in the air passages
  • Specific long-term antibiotics

In severe cases or during flare-ups, you may have to get:

  • Steroids by mouth or through a vein (intravenously).
  • Bronchodilators through a nebulizer.
  • Oxygen therapy.
  • Support from a device to help breathing by utilizing a mask, BiPAP, or through using an endotracheal tube.

Your health care company may prescribe antibiotics during symptom flare-ups, because an infection can make COPD worse.

You might require oxygen therapy at home if you have a low level of oxygen in your blood.

Pulmonary rehabilitation does not treat COPD. But it can teach you to breathe in a various method so you can stay active and feel much better.

Living With COPD

You can do things every day to keep COPD from worsening, protect your lungs, and remain healthy.

Walk to develop strength:

  • Ask the company or therapist how far to walk.
  • Gradually increase how far you walk.
  • Prevent talking if you get short of breath when you walk.
  • Use pursed lip breathing when you breathe out, to clear your lungs before the next breath.

Things you can do to make it easier for yourself around the home consist of:

  • Prevent very cold air or very heat.
  • Ensure no one smokes in your house.
  • Lower air contamination by not using the fireplace and eliminating other irritants.
  • Handle stress in your mood.

Eat healthy foods, consisting of fish, poultry, and lean meat, in addition to vegetables and fruits. If it is difficult to keep your weight up, speak to a company or dietitian about eating foods with more calories.

Surgery may be used to treat COPD. Only a few people benefit from these surgical treatments:

  • Surgery to eliminate parts of the infected lung, which can help less-diseased parts work better in some people with emphysema.
  • Lung transplant for a little number of extremely severe cases.

Outlook (Prognosis)

COPD is a long-term (chronic) disease. The disease will get worse more quickly if you do not stop cigarette smoking.

If you have severe COPD, you will lack breath with a lot of activities. You might be confessed to the healthcare facility more frequently.

Talk with your provider about breathing devices and end-of-life care as the disease progresses.

Possible Complications

With COPD, you might have other health problems such as:.

  • Irregular heart beat (arrhythmia).
  • Need for breathing device and oxygen therapy.
  • Right-sided heart failure or cor pulmonale (heart swelling and heart failure due to chronic lung disease).
  • Pneumonia.
  • Pneumothorax.
  • Severe weight loss and malnutrition.
  • Thinning of the bones (osteoporosis).
  • Debilitation.
  • Increased stress and anxiety.

When to Contact a Medical Professional.

Go to the emergency room or call the regional emergency number (such as 911) if you have a rapid increase in shortness of breath.

Prevention

Not smoking cigarettes prevents most COPD. Ask your supplier about quit-smoking programs. Medicines are also available to help you stop cigarette smoking.

Alternative Names: COPD; Chronic obstructive air passages disease; Chronic obstructive lung disease; Chronic bronchitis; Emphysema; Bronchitis Рchronic.


Last modified: December 22, 2016

References

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

As a healthy lifestyle advisor I try to guide individuals in becoming more aware of living well and healthy through a series of proactive and preventive measures, disease prevention steps, recovery after illness or medical procedures.

Education: Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

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