COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is a medical condition where the lungs’ air passages tighten and fail to process air flow efficiently. Presently, COPD is America’s fourth most common cause of death, killing more than 100,000 people annually. Also, it often negatively impacts on lifestyle, because sufferers find it hard to tolerate oxygen or be active. Moreover, sufferers are forced to use oxygen once the condition has developed. COPD symptoms include the inability to carry out vigorous exercise, shortness of breath and persistent coughing. As COPD worsens, symptoms typically include heavy breathing and the inability to carry out even normal domestic tasks, without becoming exhausted.
The primary cause of the onset of COPD relates to various elements, which produce an abnormally severe reaction inside the lungs. These elements might result from gases present in areas where people frequent, like a place of work, or from regular inhalation of airborne particles. Also, COPD might originate from cigarette smoking, which is widely reported as a common cause of the condition.
COPD can begin as a lung infection, which makes the lung tissue deteriorate. Once this occurs, the inflammation centers on the alveoli and normally starts as emphysema. COPD will develop, if the sufferer continues to be exposed to the triggering element.
In every case of COPD, the element that causes the condition produces an abnormal reaction from some area of the lungs. If the reaction includes the appearance of sputum or mucus, which is frequently coughed up, there is a high probability that the reaction comes from the lungs’ bigger airways. The condition will usually result in the onset of bronchitis initially, and then evolve into COPD. People with chronic bronchitis often suffer from persistent coughing for a few months each year, for several consecutive years. This can be diagnosed with bronchoscopy, where a tube is inserted into the throat to examine the bronchial tubes.
A COPD diagnosis is typically made, once the symptoms related to emphysema or bronchitis suddenly get worse. Physicians will carry out a range of tests, which gauge the lungs’ efficiency and capacity. After the condition’s seriousness is known, the physician will devise a treatment program that helps to delay the onset of COPD, and offer a degree of relief simultaneously. Nonetheless, it is worth bearing in mind that COPD can not be completely cured. There are just treatments that reduce discomfort, and allow sufferers to enjoy a better quality of life.
After COPD has been properly diagnosed, there are several different drugs that can be prescribed, to ease the suffering caused by the condition. Physicians will recommend drugs that are appropriate for the condition’s current stage of development. COPD that has developed from chronic bronchitis can be treated with asthma medication, such as Pulmicort steroid inhalers, to reduce swelling. To live and cope with the symptoms of COPD, it is crucial to take the drugs prescribed by physicians. In spite of these treatments though, the condition frequently develops to such an extent that drugs no longer offer a sufficient airway. Usually, deaths from COPD (resulting from bronchitis) are linked to bacterial infections, which cannot be remedied with antibiotics.
Another way of managing COPD symptoms is to maintain a healthy body weight. This means not shedding more pounds than your physician considers healthy, and not putting on a lot of weight. By maintaining your body weight within sensible parameters, less stress is placed on your lungs and there is far less likelihood that you will experience a severe attack.
Of course, prevention is better than cure, so one of the best ways of coping with COPD is to get rid of any possible triggers, which might cause the illness to proliferate quicker. For instance, refraining from smoking cigarettes and avoiding passive smoking will get rid of one potential trigger. Similarly, it might be wise to search for a new job, if your current work environment requires you to be regularly exposed to airborne particles, like coal dust.
In rare cases, surgery is used to manage COPD for people with serious symptoms. With lung volume reduction surgery, the damaged lungs have tissue removed from them. The goal of this surgery is to facilitate the patient’s breathing. Also, lung transplants are risky procedures, however they can allow COPD sufferers to have a better quality of life. If a transplanted lung is rejected, there are lots of complications, like infections and even death. The COPD sufferer’s physician will help to determine whether the risks of this surgery are justified by the potential advantages.