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Top Health Tips on Living with COPD

COPD - Are You Aware Of These Myths & Facts?

MBBS, MD - Internal Medicine
Internal Medicine Specialist, Delhi
COPD - Are You Aware Of These Myths & Facts?
When it comes to COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, not many people are aware of this condition. COPD is a chronic medical condition characterized by the inflammation of lungs. The inflammation interferes with the functioning of the lungs resulting in breathing problems. An early diagnosis and timely medication can improve the condition to a great extent. However, lack of proper knowledge and myths surrounding COPD often make the situation worse. In this article, we will discuss some myths and facts related to COPD to help people understand the condition better.

Myth: COPD is an incurable chronic lung disease mainly affecting the aged people (above 60 years).
Fact: There is no denying the fact that COPD is indeed a chronic disorder that severely affects the lungs and its functioning. However, with timely diagnosis and treatment, the condition and the deleterious consequences can be managed and controlled significantly. Since COPD triggers breathing problems (the airflow from the lungs gets obstructed), the use of bronchodilators, oxygen therapy or corticosteroids can be highly beneficial. Though COPD is rare among young adults, the condition can affect people in their late 30's or early 40's as well.

Myth: COPD only affects people who smoke.
Fact: Smoking is one of the triggers for COPD, but the condition can also affect people who have never smoked in their lifetime. Factors such as neonatal chronic lung disease or prolonged exposure to substances that cause lung irritation and damage (toxic industrial fumes and chemicals) can play a pivotal role in triggering COPD. COPD can also be a genetic predisposition.

Myth: People with COPD should avoid exercise and physical activities.
Fact: Mild to moderate exercise (especially breathing exercise) are indeed helpful and go a long way in the effective management of COPD. Exercising regularly (for 20-30 minutes or as the doctor recommended) help to lower the blood pressure and improve the circulation that provides fruitful results for people with breathing problems. However, doctors do advise people with shortness of breath to avoid strenuous exercise.

Myth: COPD only affects the lungs.
Fact: With time and left unmanaged and untreated, COPD acts as a catalyst making a person more susceptible to heart ailments. In some cases, the condition can also trigger depression and anxiety.

Myth: In the case of COPD, giving up on smoking will not produce any positive results.
Fact: Giving up on smoking may not help to reverse the damage that has already been caused by COPD. However, quitting smoking along with proper medications and lifestyle changes does help to control the condition better. In some instances, there were also significant improvements in the associated symptoms (such as shortness of breath, fatigue, wheezing, a chronic cough).

Myth: COPD is another name for Asthma.
Fact: Many people confuse COPD with Asthma. Though some symptoms may appear identical (such as wheezing, shortness of breath), the conditions are different and so are their treatments.
6424 people found this helpful

COPD - 6 Myths You Must Be Aware Of!

Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
General Physician, Bangalore
COPD - 6 Myths You Must Be Aware Of!
When it comes to COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, not many people are aware of this condition. COPD is a chronic medical condition characterized by the inflammation of lungs. The inflammation interferes with the functioning of the lungs resulting in breathing problems. An early diagnosis and timely medication can improve the condition to a great extent. However, lack of proper knowledge and myths surrounding COPD often make the situation worse. In this article, we will discuss some myths and facts related to COPD to help people understand the condition better.

Myth: COPD is an incurable chronic lung disease mainly affecting the aged people (above 60 years).
Fact: There is no denying the fact that COPD is indeed a chronic disorder that severely affects the lungs and its functioning. However, with timely diagnosis and treatment, the condition and the deleterious consequences can be managed and controlled significantly. Since COPD triggers breathing problems (the airflow from the lungs gets obstructed), the use of bronchodilators, oxygen therapy or corticosteroids can be highly beneficial. Though COPD is rare among young adults, the condition can affect people in their late 30's or early 40's as well.

Myth: COPD only affects people who smoke.
Fact: Smoking is one of the triggers for COPD, but the condition can also affect people who have never smoked in their lifetime. Factors such as neonatal chronic lung disease or prolonged exposure to substances that cause lung irritation and damage (toxic industrial fumes and chemicals) can play a pivotal role in triggering COPD. COPD can also be a genetic predisposition.

Myth: People with COPD should avoid exercise and physical activities.
Fact: Mild to moderate exercise (especially breathing exercise) are indeed helpful and go a long way in the effective management of COPD. Exercising regularly (for 20-30 minutes or as the doctor recommended) help to lower the blood pressure and improve the circulation that provides fruitful results for people with breathing problems. However, doctors do advise people with shortness of breath to avoid strenuous exercise.

Myth: COPD only affects the lungs.
Fact: With time and left unmanaged and untreated, COPD acts as a catalyst making a person more susceptible to heart ailments. In some cases, the condition can also trigger depression and anxiety.

Myth: In the case of COPD, giving up on smoking will not produce any positive results.
Fact: Giving up on smoking may not help to reverse the damage that has already been caused by COPD. However, quitting smoking along with proper medications and lifestyle changes does help to control the condition better. In some instances, there were also significant improvements in the associated symptoms (such as shortness of breath, fatigue, wheezing, a chronic cough).

Myth: COPD is another name for Asthma.
Fact: Many people confuse COPD with Asthma. Though some symptoms may appear identical (such as wheezing, shortness of breath), the conditions are different and so are their treatments.
6416 people found this helpful

COPD: Causes and Symptoms

Multi Speciality Clinic
Multi Speciality, Gurgaon
COPD: Causes and Symptoms
COPD, short for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is an inflammatory disease of the lungs. The disease obstructs the flow of air in the lungs and subsequently causes difficulty in breathing. Prolonged exposure to cigarette smoke, gases or particulate matter can lead to this condition. The condition transcends all age brackets meaning it can affect anyone from young teenagers to aged adults. People who contract this disease are at an increased likelihood of developing cardiovascular conditions and lung diseases, in addition to a horde of other conditions.

Causes of COPD
1. The chief cause of COPD is smoking tobacco and being subjected to fumes from cooking and heating. A study estimated that in and around 25% of long-standing smokers develop symptoms of this condition. Yet, statistics show that COPD is often misdiagnosed until an elaborate evaluation is diagnosed.
2. Conditions like Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are also known to cause the disease. Your lungs depend on the intrinsic elasticity of the air sacs and bronchial tubes that help facilitate the passage of air through the lungs. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease causes these passages to lose their elasticity thus rendering them partially ineffective.

Symptoms of COPD
The symptoms of COPD do not appear until the lungs are significantly damaged and the condition tends to deteriorate if smoking persists. Apart from coughing and production of sputum, other apparent symptoms include:

Difficulty in breathing
Stiffness and tightness of chest
A persistent cough
Fatigue and weakness
Weight loss
Frequent allergic reactions of the respiratory glands
Along with the aforementioned symptoms, patients who are diagnosed with COPD are likely to experience bouts of exacerbation, during which their symptoms heighten and tend to grow worse for several days.
Although anyone can contract the condition, certain people are at an increased risk of condition. Such risk factors include:

Chronic smoking
A medical history of asthma
Exposure to chemicals and dusts
Weakening of the immune system with increasing age
Heredity
If you experience or entertain symptoms or suspicions of this disease, consulting a pulmonologist is duly advised.
6134 people found this helpful

Pulmonary Rehabilitation - How Physiotherapy Can Help?

MSPT (Master of Physical Therapy)
Physiotherapist, Delhi
Pulmonary Rehabilitation - How Physiotherapy Can Help?
Seeing someone who used to do all their activities on their own turn to someone who needs help even with small things like going to the bathroom can be very difficult.

The lungs are vital organs in that they are essential to supply oxygen to the entire body. If the various organs do not receive adequate oxygen, their function can be impaired. Therefore, lung function needs to be maintained. Lung function can be impaired by chronic conditions like COPD and bronchiectasis. In both these, the overall ability of the lungs to take in adequate oxygen is reduced. Therefore, the lungs need to be rehabilitated so that they can improve their ability to function better. These exercises are aimed at the following:

Improve ability to breathe effectively
Reduce episodes of breathlessness
Reduce the number of hospitalizations required to clear sputum and infections
Improve ability to perform small, routine chores on their own
Improve exercise tolerance over a period of time
Improve overall quality of life
Reduce morbidity and mortality rates
It has been proven beyond doubt that in addition to medications, physiotherapy plays a vital role in improving lung function over a period of time. Depending on the actual condition of the patient, a physiotherapy program is drawn up. Initially, the therapist will guide the patient and/or the caretaker with the various exercises. Over a period of time, the caretaker and the patient can do these on their own. The intent of these common exercises is to improve breathing efficiency, clear mucus, and improve overall lung function.

Active breathing techniques (ABT) We all know that breathing is involuntary; however, making an effort to consciously breathe can improve the efficiency. More oxygen is taken in and sent to the various organs, thereby rejuvenating the entire body.
Postural drainage: With any chronic lung condition, sputum or mucus tends to accumulate in various parts of the lungs. If not drained, it can attract more bacteria and cause infection. The patient is made to lie in various positions so that different parts of the lungs are drained, aided by gravity. This is highly effective in clearing secretions.
Pursed lip breathing: Inhaling through the nose and letting the air out through the mouth like how a candle is blown helps improve lung function.
Forced coughing: A person is taught to induce coughing so that secretions are cleared out, thereby reducing chances of infection. Inhale as usual to the full capacity and exhale in coughing spurts.
It has been proven beyond doubt that with no side effects (unlike medications), physiotherapy improves the overall quality of life in people with COPD.
5534 people found this helpful

Best Diet For People Suffering From COPD!

MD - Pulmonary, DTCD
Pulmonologist, Faridabad
Best Diet For People Suffering From COPD!
One of the best and easiest ways to manage the symptoms of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is through a healthy and nutrient dense diet. This would not only help you to not only keep the severity of the symptoms in check but also to maintain a healthy weight.

Tips to keep in mind when choosing a diet

Managing Weight: It is essential for patients with COPD to manage their weight. The symptom of breathlessness could be more severe if you are overweight. You might feel fatigued and tired if you are underweight. Therefore it is crucial to monitor your calorie intake and therefore also your weight as recommended by the American Lung Association.
Balanced Diet: It is essential for patients with COPD to eat a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet. One that is varied and rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats or proteins according to a study published in the August 2014 issue of the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. A well-balanced diet will ensure that you get all the necessary vitamins such as C, E, and D that are necessary to help you cope with this condition.
Protein: Lean proteins such as eggs, meat, poultry, nuts, beans, and fish especially oily fish such as mackerel and sardines, should be incorporated into your meal plan. These proteins are necessary for patients with COPD especially if they are managing their condition through exercise.
Carbohydrates and food high in fibre such as lentils, oats, and beans will improve the functioning of the digestive system.
Potassium: Fruits and vegetables such as beets, potatoes, bananas are especially beneficial in preventing water retention in patients
Foods To Limit Or Avoid
People react differently to foods, there are some foods that patients with COPD should limit or avoid but if they do not seem to have an impact on your symptoms you can make them a part of your meal plan.

Limiting salt intake irrespective of whether you are a COPD patient or not is always a good step to take. But if you are a COPD patient excessive salt in your diet could cause fluid retention which could worsen your shortness of breath.
Dairy products such as milk and cheese can irritate the respiratory pathways making phlegm thicker.
Certain fruits and vegetables such as apples, cabbage, stone fruits such as peaches and soybeans can cause gas and bloating.
Caffeine in coffee and chocolate could interfere with certain medications that you have been prescribed. Confirm with your doctor if you can still include them in your diet. Patients with COPD need to drink plenty of fluids and it might be beneficial to opt for non-caffeinated beverages.
Fried, greasy and spicy food can cause gas and indigestion which can affect breathing.
Discuss your diet with your doctor or ask for a recommendation of a nutritionist who would help you to work out a meal or diet plan best suited for your condition.
4535 people found this helpful

Pulmonary Function Tests - Why Is It Required?

MD - Pulmonary, DTCD
Pulmonologist, Faridabad
Pulmonary Function Tests - Why Is It Required?
Pulmonary Function Tests or PFTs are a set of tests that are used to determine, measure or observe the functioning of the lungs. The most common pulmonary function tests used are spirometry, gas diffusion, and lung plethysmography.

Highlights of pulmonary function tests

A spirometry test is used to measure the amount of air inhaled and exhaled. It also measures the amount of time taken to complete a respiration cycle.
A lung plethysmography measures the amount of air in the lungs after the patient has taken a deep breath. It also measures the amount of air that remains in the lungs after the patient has exhaled as much air as possible.
What does a Pulmonary Function Test measure?
Pulmonary function tests would not only check how well the person is breathing but also how effectively the lungs are able to conduct oxygen to the rest of the body. In addition to air flow, these tests would measure the size and volume of the lung and lung diffusion.

These tests can also be used to measure

Total Lung Capacity the amount of air present in the lungs after breathing in deeply
Forced Vital Capacity the amount of air that can be exhaled after breathing in deeply
Minute Volume the amount of air exhaled per minute
Vital Capacity the total volume of air that can be breathed out after inhaling as much as possible
Tidal Volume the amount of air inhaled or exhaled when breathing normally
Maximum voluntary ventilation the amount of air that can be inhaled and exhaled in one minute
Functional Residual Capacity the amount of air that remains in the lungs when breathing normally
Forced Expiratory Flow the flow or volume of air during an exhalation
Peak Expiratory Flow Rate the rate at which a person can exhale
When are Pulmonary Function Tests recommended?
A physician might recommend a patient undergo a PFT as part of a routine physical check-up. This test would be advised if the patient is experiencing any symptoms associated with lung problems or disorders such as asthma, respiratory infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD. A doctor would also use these tests to monitor and check whether a certain treatment prescribed for a lung disease or condition is working effectively.

Pulmonary function tests are safe as they are non-invasive but it is important to follow the instructions of the doctor or technician before, after and during the test. It is important to make your doctor aware of any surgeries, respiratory infections, chest pains or heart attacks that you might have experienced before the test. If you are taking any medications you might need to follow the advice of the doctor as to whether you can take them before the test.

Your doctor would also advice you on how to prepare for the test such as not eating a large meal, avoiding caffeine and wearing loose-fitting clothes. If you have any doubts, concerns or queries discuss them with your doctor.
4509 people found this helpful

Pollution - How It Can Affect Your Child's Lungs?

MD - Pulmonary, DTCD
Pulmonologist, Faridabad
Pollution - How It Can Affect Your Child's Lungs?
Air pollution is known to take a toll on the lungs of even the healthiest adults. So, it comes as no surprise that the effects of this pollution on the lungs of children is deemed as a grave situation, full of health hazards including the onset of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorders and conditions like asthma and other lung disorders. Read on to find out more about the link between air pollution and its effect on the lungs of children.

Children's Lungs: Mostly, all the organs of a child's body are considered delicate and not fully matured until the child reaches a certain age. The main and largest part of the child's lungs will usually grow only after the child is born, much like the arms and legs. In fact, it is a medically proven fact that about 80% of the tiniest of air sacs grow after the child's birth, these are called the alveoli and they facilitate the transfer of the oxygen into the bloodstream with a life-sustaining function that is built into our lungs. These alveoli continue to grow until the child becomes an adult.

Immunity and Infections: Like the lungs of the child, the immunity of the child is also still in its growth phase, and is very much, unlike the immunity that an adult enjoys. This makes the child more susceptible to infections that are usually carried by air pollution in today's day and age of urban living when myriad pollutants are sent into the air every single day. Also, since children play outdoors more often and spend more time breathing in this air, they are more prone to these infections and lung or respiratory ailments due to this reason. Various studies and tests have shown inflammation in the respiratory passages caused by deposits of carbon dioxide emissions in the lungs of children.

Symptoms: Usually, the very first symptoms that show that air pollution is affecting your child's lungs can be seen when persistent coughing and wheezing sets in, without any proper reason. Also, when the child faces bronchial infections time and time again, all these are indicators of hazardous effects of air pollution in children.

Respiratory problems: Apart from respiratory problems, which can lead to asthmatic attacks, hay fever and allergies as well as other COPD ailments, there are other related dangers as well. These can happen when constant choking and obstruction of oxygen due to pollution becomes a regular affair. These include stroke and brain damage which can eventually also lead to a higher risk of dementia.

How can you protect your child during such times?

Restrict outdoor activity for the time being, especially during the early morning and evening
Make sure that your child wears a face mask when outside, preferably N95 or 99
Use air purifiers at home
Go green and use indoor plants that can remove indoor toxins
Boost your child's immunity
Lastly, keep a track of air quality index in your locality
4491 people found this helpful

All About Pulmonary Diseases

MD - Pulmonary, DTCD
Pulmonologist, Faridabad
All About Pulmonary Diseases
Pulmonary diseases are some of the most commonly experienced health conditions all over the world. Millions of people suffer due to various causes including genetics, smoking, pollutants and infection. Now lungs are one of the most important and complex organs of the body. They are the apparatus through which oxygen enters and carbon dioxide gets expelled.

Lungs expand and contract on a constant basis to ensure that we can breathe properly. Let us find out more about lung or pulmonary diseases.

Asthma: This is one of the most common and potentially fatal conditions that affect children and adults. It grips the airways formed by the bronchi which branch off into smaller tubes from the main trachea that holds them. This condition causes inflammation, and even spasms, which can lead to wheezing and breathlessness. The main triggers of asthma attacks include allergies, infections and pollutants that may escape into the airways.
COPD: This is also known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder. It is an umbrella term used for various lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties due to an obstruction of the airways. Chronic bronchitis is one of the conditions that falls under COPD, and is usually characterised by persistent, hacking coughs.
Cystic Fibrosis: This is another condition that affects the airways by causing poor passage of mucus from the bronchial tubes. This condition is a genetic one where the mucus that gathers eventually becomes a lung infection.
Pneumonia: This is a condition that causes an infection in the alveoli, which are the tiny tubes that the airways branch into. These are air sacs that can catch myriad infections like pneumonia.
Tuberculosis: This is also a kind of pneumonia, which is caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. This condition usually attacks the air sacs of the lungs and can be a potentially fatal disease if it is not treated on time. The patient will require immediate hospitalisation.
Pulmonary Edema: This condition is caused by fluid leaks from the tiny blood vessels into the surrounding air sacs within the lungs. It can also be caused due to heart failure as well as back pressure which falls on the lungs. Direct injury to the lungs can also lead to this condition.
Lung Cancer: This is a fatal disease which can be found in any part of the lungs. It has many forms and the type as well as the location usually determines the kind of treatment option that will be followed.
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome: When the lungs suffer a sudden injury which is usually caused by a bout of serious illness, it is called ARDS. Treatment involves the use of life support ventilation.
4366 people found this helpful

Chronic Diseases - Why Homeopathy Is A Better Option For It?

BHMS
Homeopath, Thane
Chronic Diseases - Why Homeopathy Is A Better Option For It?
Why homeopathy is a better option for chronic diseases?

Chronic diseases can be defined as long-term diseases that plague an individual, and are generally progressive in nature, i. E. Their symptoms become worse as time passes by. Some of the common examples of these diseases are diabetes, heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and stroke to name a few.

Their symptoms are progressive and fixed in nature and this causes a lot of hardships in the life of the affected people, ruining the quality of their life. Since these are the diseases one usually lives with, you are supposed to take pills/medicine every day.

It is important that the treatment of chronic diseases is reliable and does not cause any further harm.

Here are some reasons why homeopathy is a better option for chronic diseases.

1. No side effects

Homeopathic treatment not only cures the chronic diseases but also ensures that the medications do not cause any side effects whatsoever. Most of the conventional drugs treat problems but they also cause dangerous side effects that may increase your problems altogether. So, homeopathy is naturally the better option.

2. Permanent treatment

Homeopathy is a better option for chronic diseases because it helps to cure the chronic diseases permanently. This is so because homeopathy follows a holistic approach and treats the root of the problem in order to eliminate the diseases as a whole and not just reduce the symptoms. Also, homeopathic treatment is tailored to meet the specific requirements of the patient, which makes it a more viable option than conventional drugs.

If you would like to consult with me privately, please click on 'consult'.
Related Tip: How to Naturally Rid Yourself of Stress through Homeopathy
4352 people found this helpful

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - Symptoms and Treatment

MD - Pulmonary, DTCD
Pulmonologist, Faridabad
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - Symptoms and Treatment
The lungs are made of tubes through, which air passes in and out for exchange of gases, taking in alveoli. It is a disease of alveoli to which finer air conducting tubes are attached. Over a period of time, with age and exposure to various agents, these tubules get obstructed. The amount of air that can pass through these is reduced, leading to reduced oxygen supply to the lungs and thereby the various body organs.

Symptoms
The symptoms of copd can be easily understood if we realize how copd is caused. The progressive blockage of the air tubes causes less oxygen to reach the tissues, which is the most essential agent for all tissues and organs to function. Reduced supply produces a generalized limitation in physical activity. There are two main components to copd - chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The symptoms indicative of copd are as follows:
1. Chronic cough - also referred to as smoker's cough, the cough is relentless and does not subside with regular cough treatment. This is one of the first indications of copd.
2. Mucus buildup - there is constant buildup of mucus which gets expelled during coughing. The person never feels completely clear of mucus, and the regular cough expectorants do not help relieve the symptoms.
3. Fatigue associated with limited activity - as noted earlier, the reduced capacity of the organs limits their activities. Therefore, regular activities like walking short distances or climbing stairs can induce fatigue.
4. Shortness of breath - the above fatigue is associated with shortness of breath, even with small physical exertion. A person with copd will see marked tiredness and reduced ability to perform routine chores and feel a tightness in the chest.
5. Wheezing - passage of air through the obstructed air tubes produces a whistling sound or wheezing. It is more pronounced when there is mucus accumulation in the airways.
Rarely, frequent respiratory infections, more frequent flu attacks, swelling of the feet and ankles, cardiovascular disease, weight loss, and morning headaches.

Treatment
While there is no cure for copd, once it sets, the following are some ways to slow its progression and reduce severity of the symptoms:
1. Bronchodilators - dilate the air tubes and ease flow of air
2. Corticosteroids - help reduce inflammation and thereby improve airflow through the tubes
3. Flu vaccination - helps curb the frequent flu attacks
4. Antibiotics - to contain infections
5. Pulmonary rehabilitation - a combination of breathing exercise and patient education to improve lung function.
6. Oxygen therapy - in very severe cases, oxygen may be required.
7. Lifestyle changes - eating healthy foods, preventing exposure to dust and smoke, quitting smoking, breathing exercises, bi-annual medical check-ups to monitor lung functions are essential.

Knowing that you have copd is the first step towards managing copd, which can be managed effectively.
4155 people found this helpful