COPD is a chronic lung disease caused by a long-lasting injury that damages the lung tissues. The crack in the tissues leads to difficulty in breathing.
Types of COPD: There are following two types of COPD;
- Emphysema: It is a lung disorder commonly found in smokers. However, people who do not smoke can also get affected by such illnesses. Emphysema causes damage to the alveoli (air sacks) in the lungs, which leads to difficulty inhaling oxygen.
- Chronic bronchitis (CB): Chronic bronchitis is a burning sensation in the lining of the bronchitis tubes, which acts to transfer the air in and out of the lungs. Individuals with CB disorder often encounter cough alongside a discharge of thick and discolored mucus. Moreover, chronic bronchitis patients mostly experience wheezing sounds while breathing, shortness of breath, and chest pain.
Symptoms: Following are the likely indication of COPD are;
- People might feel unable to breathe smoothly, and the indications can begin with regular coughing and shortness of breath. However, these symptoms can get worsen over time. An individual’s breathing worsens by routine physical activities such as climbing stairs.
- When an individual is breathing out, the person may feel wheezing due to chest stiffness.
- A discharge of mucus from the chronic cough can be one of the symptoms of COPD.
- Individuals can also have insufficient energy to perform daily tasks.
- Continuous weight deduction is also an indication of COPD.
- Moreover, a burning sensation in the arm, feet, or legs is also a symptom of COPD.
Furthermore, the indications of the illness can worsen quite quickly if a person is a regular smoker or is surrounded by smokers.
Causes of COPD: The likely causes of COPD are;
The causes of COPD can vary from person to person. People with a smoking history and at least 40 years of age are at a greater risk of COPD infection. Moreover, people who do not smoke can also have COPD as smokers may surround them, and those with asthma can also suffer from this disorder. Similarly, people with increased interaction with pollution, chemicals, and dust can suffer from COPD.
When is it vital to visit the physician?
It is beneficial to visit the doctor immediately to get the proper guidance about COPD and get the necessary treatment if the indications worsen even with the ongoing treatment and medication, such as shortness of breath and lack of energy.
The consultant can advise several tests for the diagnosis. Firstly, the physician will perform a physical examination using a stethoscope for hearing the lung activity. Based on the physical examination, the consultant may advise further tests to know the actual cause and stage of the disease.
Following examination may be recommended to perform;
- A spirometer examination is used to examine the lung’s performance. This test requires the candidate to inhale a deep breath and exhale it into the tube joined with the spirometer.
- An X-ray or a CT scan test can also be performed to understand the lung’s functioning. The test reflects the lung’s performance and can also show an in-depth picture of the heart and the blood vessels.
- A blood test, referred to as the ‘artery blood gas test’, is performed by taking a sample of blood from the artery to calculate the amount of O2 and co2 and other necessary gases in the body.
By conducting the aforementioned examinations, the consultant could analyze the type and severity of illness, such as asthma, COPD, or other similar lung and heart diseases.
Treatment: The possible treatments for the illness are as follows:
After analyzing the tests, the physician might prescribe several treatments to minimize the complications and gradually eliminate the disease. The treatments include:
- Oxygen supplement for the patient who experiences shortness of breath.
- Oxygen therapy can also be conducted with the help of a nasal cannula or an oxygen mask.
- Surgical procedure: The consultant usually recommends surgery when all other treatments fail. The type of surgeries can vary depending upon the patient’s condition, such as a lung transplant can cure COPD by replacing the patient’s lung with another person’s healthy lung. Moreover, several other surgeries can also be conducted to fix the damage to the upper lung tissues.
Prevention: An individual can prevent himself from being affected by COPD in such a way that;
- Restrict the inhaling of tobacco.
- Stay away from a smoker’s chemically rich environment.
- Utilize respiratory protective equipment.
- Some vaccinations can also help people having lung infections.