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:
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:
If you experience or entertain symptoms or suspicions of this disease, consulting a pulmonologist is duly advised.