What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?
COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is the name of a group of progressive lung diseases. The most common illnesses that are associated with COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Sometimes, one person can be affected with both these diseases.
Emphysema is an illness that gradually destroys the air sack in the pulmonary system, which cause difficulty with the outward airflow from the lungs. Bronchitis on the other hand is an illness that causes narrowing and inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which allows mucus to build up in the airway.
COPD patients often find it’s harder to breath. Although the symptoms of COPD may be mild in the beginning with just coughing and shortness of breath, but as the disease progresses patients suffering from COPD find increasing difficulty in breathing.
Patients affected by this malady experience tightness in their chest along with symptoms like wheezing.
One of the major reasons for developing this disease is smoking. Prolonged exposure to chemical irritants and other harmful external agents like toxic gases can also lead to COPD. Nevertheless, COPD is an ailment that takes pretty long to develop in the patients suffering from this acute respiratory malady.
Diagnosis of COPD is usually done by imaging, blood tests and also LFT (lung Function Test).
There is hardly any cure for this disease. But there are certain treatments that can help to ease the symptoms of this illness and lowers the chances of complications which in turn generally improves the quality of life of the COPD patients.
However, it must be also remembered, if left untreated COPD can lead to severe heart ailments and also worsening respiratory infections in the patients.There are several people all across the globe, who in spite of having this disease are unaware of its presence in their body.To slow the progress of this disease, it’s best to consult a pulmonologist (lung specialist) or a respiratory therapist.Medications that helps in relaxing the muscles of the airway, such as bronchodilators are generally prescribed to the patients suffering from this disease. Bronchodilator medicines are usually inhaled. Glucocorticosteroids are also at times prescribed to the patients for reducing inflammation in their airway tract.Other than these oxygen therapy is also recommended to the patients along with pneumococcal vaccine and an annual dose of flu shots.
When medicines fails to bring comfort in some of the COPD patients, surgery is performed in severe COPD cases, when all other treatments have failed. Surgery like bellectomy is mostly done on COPD patients when they develop a condition known as emphysema, which absolutely destroys the patient’s air sacs.
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.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is a group of progressive lung diseases. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the most common lung diseases. Emphysema gradually ruins the air sacs in your lungs, which are interfered with exhalation. The inflammation and swelling of airways in the lungs is called bronchitis, which further allows production of mucus, which leads to increased difficulty in breathing.
COPD is a case which makes it harder to breathe. The symptoms like coughing and shortness of breath are light at first. With passage of time, these symptoms worsen and make it increasingly difficult for the patient to breathe.
The patient may experience wheezing and feel heavy on the chest. Some patients suffering from COPD experience flare-ups of severe symptoms or exacerbations.
The main cause of COPD is ciigarette smoking and therefore, people who are used to smoking for a longer time may suffer from this diesease. It is a disease that takes time to build up inside one’s body. COPD can further cause heart problems and worsen respiratory diseases.
Severe symptoms of COPD include:
Treatment of COPD
The treatment of COPD can ease its symptoms and avoid further complications. To treat COPD, one needs a skillful and experienced pulmonologist and respiratory therapist.
COPD- Second largest killer in India.Treatable and preventable disease of lungs. Common in smokers and in non smokers who use chullahs for cooking, pollution. And symptoms are- progressive increase in breathlessnes and cough with sputum. Simple test to diagnose this dreaded disease is PFT, not a costly test. Consult specialist in chest medicine.
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
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
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. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?