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.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
- Shortness of breath
- Cough with sputum
- Chronic bronchitis, inflammation of the bronchi
- 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
CAUSES & RISK FACTORS FOR COPD
- 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.
- 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
- Osteoporosis, weakening of the bones
- Lung cancer
DIAGNOSIS OF COPD
- Firstly physical symptoms are noted & observed like shortness of breath, cough with sputum, chest discomfort, etc.
- 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.
- 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.
- CT scan is conducted to see the distribution of emphysema in the lungs, also these tests are conducted to rule out any other disease.
- The severity of the stage & symptoms are represented by this table;
|1||Only strenuous activity|
|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.
PREVENTION & MANAGEMENT OF COPD
- 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.