Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD is a lung disorder characterized by the existence of an obstruction of the airways usually progressive and generally not reversible. The problem with COPD is it’s a condition that lasts for a lifetime. Since it lasts for a long time, a number of patients are just dealing with end stage COPD symptoms as they age. With COPD, people will experience difficulty in breathing and result being deprived of its needed supply. Without the right oxygen supply, patients will feel they’re weaker and even keep themselves from doing as much work as possible.
COPD encompasses two types of disease processes namely chronic bronchitis and emphysema. According to one epidemiology study in the US, approximately eight million people have chronic bronchitis whereas 2 million people have emphysema. As we can see, chronic bronchitis is more common than emphysema.
Causes of COPD. Smoking is the number 1 cause of COPD. About 30 percent of long term smokers will eventually show symptoms of COPD of varying degrees. More than 90 percent of COPDs are caused by smoking, cigarette or otherwise. Smoking inadvertently damages the lining of the airways. As with any other part of the body in response to injury, inflammation occurs. Inflammation stimulates the damaged lining to secrete mucus in an abnormal amount and also causes the airway to constrict (narrow).
Symptoms of COPD. Symptoms are often similar symptoms of other lung diseases and conditions. Symptoms of COPD usually get progressively worse after they first begin to appear. Symptoms only start to show after there’s been damage to lung tissue.
- Shortness of breath is often the first clear sign of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Cough that produces sputum (sputum is saliva mixed with discharges from the lungs and airways). Such a cough that’s not caused by a cold or flu can be one of the first symptoms of COPD. This cough appears every morning at first, but gradually it starts happening all day long.
- Wheezing is the result of air being forced through air passages that have grown smaller.
- Blood-tinged sputum or hemoptysis. It’s one of the most common symptoms of COPD. Most of the time, only small amounts of blood come up from the respiratory system, but it’s enough to signal that a problem is developing.
- Cyanosis is a medical term for a lack of oxygen. When someone has cyanosis, they literally begin to turn blue. The blue skin shade is usually most noticeable in the nails beds and around the lips.
- Weight loss. Severe COPD burns calories because the body has to work harder to do everything. Struggling to breathe during meals also makes the patient want to eat less.
Treament of COPD
A person has to give up smoking immediately, as it’s the main cause of COPD. There are many methods that help smokers and start a whole new life. If COPD is caused by smoking, smoking cessation is the only way to check the rapid progression of the disease.
Eating habits will also change. Take a rest before you eat and eat small, nutritious meals at short intervals, instead of three big meals a day. Take your time while eating and breathe evenly while chewing. Exercising regularly, after consulting your doctor, will also help in keeping the COPD in check.
In the process, patients with COPD would just end up being bedridden in the end. Simple activities will cause them to be short of breath and do lots of effort in order to grasp air. Oxygen is needed in the brain in order for its processes to work properly so the lack of it would cause people to be confused and less focus. It’s very simple for people to be frustrated and irritated at this point so physicians may need to prescribe anti-anxiety treatments.