According to WHO chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is the second leading causes of death in the world.
In 2015 COPD claimed over 3.2 million lives globally. And most interestingly, half of these people did not even know they have this progressive disease.
It is true that COPD cannot be cured. But with a few changes in your lifestyle, you can avoid complication. It is possible to lead a healthy lifestyle with COPD.
Untreated COPD can lead to severe respiratory infections, heart problems, and even lung cancer.
Symptoms of COPD:
The symptoms of COPD can be elusive. Therefore, you might not ignore them as common cold and flu. Make sure to consult your physician if you experience:
- Shortness of breath even after mild physical activities
- A recurrent but a mild cough
- Frequent respiratory infections such as cold and flue
And in the more advanced stage of COPD you may experience:
- Difficulty catching in the breath and talking spontaneously
- Heart palpitations
- Sudden weight loss
Causes of COPD:
Cigarette smoking, pipe smoking, and second-hand smoking are some of the key causes of COPD, especially in developed countries. Most people with COPD are either smoker or have a smoking history.
Continuous exposure to chemical, smoke, fumes, and dust can also contribute to COPD. People living in a poorly ventilated room are at the risk of developing COPD.
Genetic factor also plays a vital role in COPD in about 1% of people. They lack a protein named alpha-1-antitrypsin. This protein is produced in the liver and helps protect the lungs. Therefore, deficiency of alpha-1-antitrypsin affects the lungs as wells as the liver.
Diagnosis of COPD:
When visit a doctor make sure to tell about the symptoms that you are experiencing. Based on the information provided by you, the doctor will choose the diagnosis procedure that best fits you. To get the real picture of your present condition, the doctor may order,
- Spirometry that assesses your lung function.
- CT-Scan or chest X-ray
- A blood test to measure the blood oxygen level
Above mention tests will determine if you have COPD or any other ailment.
Medications: Medications like bronchodilators, which help ease breathing by relaxing the airway muscles, are among the few medications prescribed by the physicians.
Oxygen therapy: Oxygen therapy plays a major role if you are having low blood oxygen level.
Surgery: A very few patients with COPD are ordered for surgery in case all the other treatment options fail. Lungs transplant and bullectomy are performed on the patient with severe COPD like emphysema.
Changes in lifestyle:
You can easily lower your chances of developing COPD if you do not indulge in smoking. Besides, staying safe from second-hand smoking is another important step towards preventing COPD.
Make sure to use respiratory protective devices if you are to work under the conditions of chemical fumes and dust.
But if you are a long time smoker and diagnosed with COPD then quitting the habit of smoking is the best options for you. It will not only stop the progression of the diseases but also help you lead a healthy life.