According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 250 million people worldwide are bearing the brunt of COPD. So what exactly causes COPD and how can you lead a better life with the condition? Well, here are some of your questions answered. Have a look!
What Is COPD?
COPD stands for “chronic obstructive pulmonary disease”, which when broken implies
Chronic: It stays for long
Obstructive: Partly blocked
Pulmonary: In the lungs
COPD is a group of lung diseases that block airflow in the lungs and interfere with normal breathing. The most common diseases are emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Common Causes Of COPD
-Smoking or history of smoking (any type of smoking)
-Long-term exposure to dust, smoke or fumes even from cooking stoves and heaters
Is Asthma And COPD The Same?
Many symptoms of COPD are similar to that of asthma. The differentiating symptom of COPD could be a daily morning cough with yellowish phlegm.
Checklist: Could that cough be due to COPD?
-Do you cough several times most days?
-Do you bring up phlegm or mucus most days?
-Do you get out of breath more easily than others your age?
-Are you older than 40 years?
-Are you a current or an ex-smoker?
Watch Out For The Symptoms
-Cough a lot with mucus
-May have breathlessness while doing physical activity or walking rapidly
-More cough with mucus
-Take several weeks to recover from cold and chest infections
-May have trouble taking physical strain and daily chores
-Excessive cough with excessive mucus
-Trouble in breathing day and night
-Get tired easily
-Cannot walk upstairs or across the room
-Blue tinge on the lips or fingernail beds
Get The Most Out Of Each Breath
-Try doing things slowly and while sitting, if possible. Put things near your reach.
-Find easy ways such as using a wheel cart to move heavy things or using ramps instead of stairs.
-Avoid going out when it is crowded.
-Discuss with your doctor about the dos and don’t before traveling.
-Take your medicine as directed and go for regular check-ups.
-Practice simple breathing exercises at home, like pursed lips breathing. For this, inhale through your nose, counting 1,2.. Deep breath is not needed, a normal breath will do. Purse your lips. Breathe out slowly. Do this for 5-10 minutes every day.
COPD is not a ‘one size fits all’ disease. Treatments may vary. It’s a progressive disease, but with the right diagnosis and treatment, COPD symptoms can be managed rendering you breathe better.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
1. Key facts. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The World Health Organization (WHO). https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease-(copd)
2. COPD. National Heart, Lung And Blood Institute (NHLBI). https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/copd