Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD


What is COPD? Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD, also known as Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (COLD) or Chronic Obstructive Airway Disease (COAD), is a progressive lung disease that makes breathing very difficult for a patient. The airways become narrowed leading to a limitation in the flow of air to and from the lungs. COPD generally constitutes three related conditions such as chronic bronchitis, chronic asthma and emphysema. Classification of COPD GOLD or Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, a collaboration between the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization classifies people with COPD based on their degree of airflow limitation (obstruction). This is measured during the initial screening round of pulmonary function tests. GOLD international advises spirometry as a standard for accurate and repeatable measurement of lung function. Spirometry is the latest technological method of assessing lung function by measuring the volume of air that the patient expels from the lungs after maximum inhalation. Its definitive uses in COPD are to: • Confirm the presence of obstruction in the airways. • Provide a clear picture as to the severity of the disease. • Differentiate asthma from COPD. • Help in the detection of COPD in people working in high risk zones or exposed to tobacco smoke. • Help in monitoring proper progression of the disease and assess its response to treatment. Signs and Symptoms One of the most common symptoms of COPD is shortness of breath. Patients afflicted with COPD have the general complaint that they need to put in effort to breathe or feel breathless to perform even mundane routine tasks. Those who are physically active notice dyspnoea or shortness of breath during vigorous exercise. If not treated, over the years dyspnoea worsens and impairs the patient from carrying out normal activities. Other symptoms of COPD are a persistent cough, sputum or mucus production, wheezing, chest tightness, and tiredness.

Intense and prolonged exposure to harmful chemicals. The factors that predict a poor prognosis are: • • • • Severe obstruction to the airflow Shortness of breath Being either underweight or overweight Smoking However depending on the moderation or severity of the disease after proper evaluation one can slow down its progression by • Enrolling in a lung exercise program . Cyanosis or a bluish discoloration of the lips occurs during this stage.People suffering from advanced COPD may develop respiratory failure.Genetic COPD susceptibility has been found among those who have chronic smokers for generations. air pollution. The common signs being: • • • • • • a rapid breathing rate wheezing sounds patient exhaling taking a longer time than inhaling enlargement of the chest or patient preferring to raise his/her chest to breathe active use of muscles in the neck to facilitate ease in breathing breathing through the mouth Causes Most researchers opine that the primary cause for COPD is tobacco smoke that includes both passive and active smoking. Prognosis There is no sure cure yet for COPD and one cannot reverse the damage done to the lungs. This may over the years contribute in worsening the situation due to COPD.Individuals who have been active smokers but have stopped smoking continue to have the presence of active inflammation in their lungs. Genetic causes . There are a few signs of COPD that one needs to take note although these may seem common in other diseases too.Studies have confirmed that people who live in larger cities that have higher concentration of pollutants in the air. Other causes include long-term exposure to lung irritants. Pollution in the air . • • • • Occupational irritants . genetics. dust and fumes play an active role in causing COPD. have higher risks of COPD than those living in the rural areas. auto immune diseases etc. Auto-immune disease .

Improvement in reducing air pollution in cities.Strict measures should be implemented in high-risk working zones such as coal mining. and with the usage of proper timely medications. bronchodilators. Management of COPD . Smoking being one of the vital factors in the progression of COPD should be marked as dangerous for those who do so.Though there has been no cure currently for COPD. will lead to health gains for people with COPD. providing supplemental oxygen. Annual influenza vaccinations and pneumococcal vaccinations for those who fall in the high risk category of COPD may be beneficial. Air pollution . The policies of governments. it is both preventable and manageable through complete cessation of smoking. Occupational health . Prevention and Management • • • • • Putting a complete stop to smoking. construction and stonemasonry.• Taking proper medical precautions from catching any kind of a viral infection that affects the lungs. to reduce the likelihood of COPD among workers. . public health agencies and antismoking organizations can reduce smoking rates through active campaigns.

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