What is COPD?
Respiratory diseases that produce a persistent obstruction to breathing along with several other similar symptoms is collectively termed as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases or COPD. These problems can occur due to different reasons. Broadly these include bronchitis (an inflammation of the bronchial tubes that carry air to the lungs) and emphysema (lung problems that block the airflow and make it difficult to breathe).
What Causes COPD?
Different factors responsible for the development of COPD:
–Bronchitis: Smoking causes bronchitis. Regular cigarette smoking causes permanent damage to the air passage and results in a severe cough (called Smoker’s cough)
–Passive smokers may also develop COPD due to continuous exposure to smoke
-Recurrent infections and allergies (hypersensitivity in airways)
How Would You Know That You Have COPD?
Symptoms of COPD range from a cough, difficulty in breathing to wheezing.
-A cough along with mucus production which gets worse during the night or early morning hours.
-Wheezing (a whistling sound that is audible from the chest while breathing out).
Can COPD be managed? If Yes, Then How?
Yes, COPD can be effectively managed. You can follow these tips to manage COPD.
1 . Complete stoppage of smoking is crucial to prevent and treat COPD. It will prevent the worsening of the disease and allow for natural healing to occur within the lungs with passage of time.
2 . Awareness of the triggers can help in reducing the exposure to them.
3 . Regular moderate exercise like walking helps to increase the lung capacity.
4 . Adequate nutrition (whole grains, fibrous fruits, green vegetables and enough water) is essential for ensuring overall health.
5 . Home remedies such as steam inhalation help to remove the phlegm from the air passages and thereby improve breathing.
6 . Avoid humid environments and crowded places. People with COPD are more susceptible to infections and should, therefore, avoid going to such places.
7 . Get vaccinated. Pneumococcal infection and influenza are the two common respiratory diseases that can be easily averted by taking their vaccination. It is important that COPD patients get themselves vaccinated as they are more susceptible to such conditions.
8 . Seeking medical help on time is a key factor for managing the symptoms of COPD. You may be recommended to use steroid-based medicines and bronchio-dilating medicines to avoid the advancement of the disease.
9 . The doctor may prescribe you long term medicines ( that will help to decrease the frequency of sudden attacks and control disease progression) and short acting medicines (for immediate and instant relief in acute symptoms)
10. Surgery is to be considered when it becomes impossible to resolve the condition with medicines and other conventional measures of disease management.