COPD: What is it it, & its prevention techniques?

COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is a obstructive lung disease, meaning it blocks the airway.

COPD is a progressive disease, therefore it has long term effects like breathing problems, poor airflow & cough. It is associated with variating symptoms & conditions.


  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough with sputum
  • Chronic bronchitis, inflammation of the bronchi
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightening
  • Chest pain
  • Fast heart rate & rapid breathing
  • In advanced condition, even walking & changing clothes can cause shortness of breath.
  • Bluish tint to the body
  • Fatigue


  • Smoking of cigarette, cigar, cannabis, water pipe, etc.
  • Exposure to passive smoking regularly.
  • Poor ventilated kitchens, furnace rooms, in which biomass, wood, etc are used for burning, causing indoor air pollution.
  • Vehicular air pollution, minute particles in the air, risk is most in urban areas.
  • Industrial exhausts.
  • Particles inhaled in gold mining, textiles, coal mining, welding of cadmium, aluminium, steel, inhalation of silica dust & asbestos.
  • Genetics
  • Some conditions or diseases can contribute to COPD, or at least increase its risk;
  • Asthma, airway sensitivity, bronchitis, HIV infected person, Tuberculosis.


  • Muscle wasting in later stages
  • High blood pressure in the arteries supplying blood to the lungs.
  • Heart failure
  • Fluid accumulation in the legs.
  • Bulging of the neck veins.
  • Coronary Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis, weakening of the bones
  • Depressions
  • Lung cancer
  • Confusion


    1. Firstly physical symptoms are noted & observed like shortness of breath, cough with sputum, chest discomfort, etc.
    2. Spirometry is conducted, it measures the amount of airflow obstruction that may be present, therefore the patient is made to blow in a large tube which is connected to a machine.
    3. X-ray of the lungs is done to determine for abnormal signs that usually confirm the condition, like, hyperinflated lungs, flattened diaphragm & air spaces in between the lung tissue.
    4. CT scan is conducted to see the distribution of emphysema in the lungs, also these tests are conducted to rule out any other disease.
    5. The severity of the stage & symptoms are represented by this table;
Grade Activity affected
1 Only strenuous activity
2 Vigorous walking
3 With normal walking
4 After a few minutes of walking
5 With changing clothing



  • In management of primary symptoms, bronchodilators are used for aiding in breathing, like Salbutamol & Terbutaline.
  • Corticosteroids are used in combination with other medicines to manage flare ups of the condition, can be inhaled or tablets.
  • Antibiotics are also prescribed in patients with comorbidities & to manage infections. 
  • Drugs that reduce production & volume of mucus production.
  • Anti-allergy drugs are used to prevent inflammation & swelling.
  • In severe cases & as last options, lung transplant or cardiothoracic surgery may be done to remove damaged parts of the lungs & respiratory system.


  • Cessation of smoking.
  • Using a face mask in polluted urban societies.
  • Breathing exercises.
  • Humidifier are used as warm air can clear up the mucus & relax the muscles.
  • Mild exercise
  • Not coming in contact with industrial pollution & dust particles.
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation.
  • Oxygen Therapy
  • Taking pneumonia vaccination & influence vaccination.
  • Eating healthy foods.