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Overview

Copd - Symptom, Treatment And Causes

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.

Symptoms :

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.

Treatment :

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.

Can't be cured, but treatment helps Require medical diagnosis Lab test required Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong
Symptoms
Shortness of breath. Wheezing or a chronic cough. Tightness in the chest.

Popular Health Tips

COPD Is Broken Down To Clinical Scenarios - Chronic Bronchitis & Emphysema!

MD - Physician, Diploma In Tuberculosis & Chest Diseases
Pulmonologist, Mumbai
COPD Is Broken Down To Clinical Scenarios - Chronic Bronchitis & Emphysema!

Chronic Bronchitis is a result of inflamed bronchioles (pipes carrying air to alveoli or balloons) that can produce mucus and lead to coughing and difficulty in breathing. When smoking causes inflammation of the bronchioles, constriction or squeezing takes place. This results in wheezing because air is travelling through narrowed tubes.

Emphysema, in short, is basically a dead lung. As smoke travels farther down your respiratory tract, the air sacs in your lungs (alveoli), start popping out or dying. Your bank of alveoli gets depleted over time as you continue your habits. You will notice as you increase your heart rate whether its by running or walking a flight of stairs this activity requires your red blood cells to move faster through the alveoli and have less time to receive oxygen from the lung. This leads to having less oxygen on red blood cells whose job is to deliver oxygen to the rest of the body.

Symptoms

In COPD, Both the airways(pipes) and lung parenchyma are affected by the disease and airflow limitation is progressive. COPD has been predominantly seen in patients above 40-yearold and frequent smokers.

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 built up 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.

1 person found this helpful

Better Living with COPD - A Patient Guide!

MD - Pulmonary, DTCD
Pulmonologist, Faridabad
Better Living with COPD - A Patient Guide!

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD for short is a respiratory disease that makes it increasingly difficult to breathe; the lungs stop functioning properly. There are mainly two categories of COPD which are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The primary reason for COPD is longstanding exposure to substances such as cigarette smoke, chemical fumes and air pollutants that damage the lungs gradually.

Initially, the symptoms of COPD may be really mild but over time it may become extremely severe. These include symptoms such as:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing with mucous formation
  • Wheezing or gasping
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Feeling tired constantly after doing normal daily activities or after exercising.

In the long run, the damages can prove to be permanent.

Of the two subtypes mentioned, bronchitis is when the airways become inflamed as well as narrowed. People suffering from bronchitis tend to produce sputum which is basically a combination of mucus and saliva.
And the other subtype, Emphysema is the condition when the air sacs in the lungs become affected. The air sacs degenerate and become baggy with lots of holes in it. This, in turn, traps air. This narrows the airways making it difficult to breathe. In COPD, there is a narrowing of the lungs because:

  1. The lining of the airway becomes inflamed
  2. The lining of the airways which is elastic flops
  3. The tissues of the lungs become damaged so there is an exertion on the airway.

COPD, in the long run, can lead to a number of health complications such as heart disorders, lung cancer, respiratory infections, depression and high blood pressure. COPD is treatable but not curable because it is a life-long condition. The following are some of the treatment methods for COPD:

  1. Oxygen Therapy- If you are experiencing low levels of oxygen then opting for a portable oxygen unit will be extremely beneficial.
  2. Medication- Bronchodilators help in relaxing the airway muscles for comfortable breathing. These medications are usually taken via an inhaler. Other medications include corticosteroids, theophylline, vaccines and antibiotics/antivirals.
  3. Surgery- Surgery is usually advised as the last step when the COPD condition has become so severe that all other methods of treatment have failed. This is, more possible, in the case of emphysema. There are mainly two surgical methods: one is bullectomy when the surgeons remove the damaged air sacs. The other method is lung volume reduction which removes the lung tissues that have become damaged.

Adopting certain lifestyle changes can provide relief for the time being. Such alterations include:

  1. Quit smoking immediately, if you haven’t already.
  2. Try to avoid passive smoking as much as possible. Passive smoking is as damaging as firsthand smoking.
  3. Give your body the daily dose of nutrition so that the immune system doesn’t falter as well.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3509 people found this helpful

COPD - Can Oxygen Therapy Help Treat It?

MBBS, MD -Pulmonary Medicine-Tuberculosis ,Respiratory Disease Medicine , Diploma in Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases (DTCD), European Diploma in Respiratory Medicine
Pulmonologist, Delhi
COPD - Can Oxygen Therapy Help Treat It?

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:

  1. Occasional shortness of breath
  2. Mild and reoccurring cough with mucus
  3. Constant need to clear your throat
  4. Noisy breathing
  5. Frequent cold and cough
  6. Loss of energy or feeling fatigued
  7. Swelling of ankles, legs or feet
  8. Sudden weight loss

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.

  • The medications which are preferred by the doctor are bronchodilators, which soothe the muscles of bronchial tubes, making it easier for the patient to breathe. This medicine is basically taken from inhalers. To reduce the inflammation, Glucocortico steroids are added.
  • Oxygen therapy is undertaken to provide oxygen to the patient through an oxygen mask or nasal prongs to ease the breathing process of the patient. A portable unit is advised, if the patient is cured at home.
  • Surgery is an option for severe COPD patients, which is undertaken if and only all other medications have already failed to control COPD, which can be the case in emphysema. Bullectomy is a kind of surgery in which the doctors eliminate the large bullae (air sacs) from the lungs. Volume reduction surgery is the last option for the doctor to cure a COPD patient. In this process, the damaged lung tissue is removed. The doctors go for a lung transplant in some rare cases of COPD.
  • The treatment for many diseases is a healthy and disciplined lifestyle. One should quit smoking and get the nutrition that their body needs. People should consult a dietician and get a healthy diet plan, and ask a doctor about the extent of exercise they should perform daily. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
2040 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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

  1. Total Lung Capacity – the amount of air present in the lungs after breathing in deeply
  2. Forced Vital Capacity – the amount of air that can be exhaled after breathing in deeply
  3. Minute Volume – the amount of air exhaled per minute
  4. Vital Capacity – the total volume of air that can be breathed out after inhaling as much as possible
  5. Tidal Volume – the amount of air inhaled or exhaled when breathing normally
  6. Maximum voluntary ventilation – the amount of air that can be inhaled and exhaled in one minute
  7. Functional Residual Capacity – the amount of air that remains in the lungs when breathing normally
  8. Forced Expiratory Flow – the flow or volume of air during an exhalation
  9. 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. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

4512 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Carbohydrates and food high in fibre such as lentils, oats, and beans will improve the functioning of the digestive system.
  5. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. Dairy products such as milk and cheese can irritate the respiratory pathways making phlegm thicker.
  3. Certain fruits and vegetables such as apples, cabbage, stone fruits such as peaches and soybeans can cause gas and bloating.
  4. 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.
  5. Fried, greasy and spicy food can cause gas and indigestion which can affect breathing.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

 

4539 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

I am 23 year old female. I have a history of abdominal tuberculosis, diagnosed 3 year ago and treated well. But I have recurrent cough and phlegm production and it is chronic from last 4-5 year with every season change. So I want to confirm is it COPD? Or some other problem?

Diploma In Gastroenterology, Diploma In Dermatology, BHMS
Homeopath, Hyderabad
The best way to prevent COPD is to not start smoking or to quit smoking. ... Also, try to avoid lung irritants that can contribute to COPD, such as air pollution, chemical fumes, dusts, and secondhand smoke, which is smoke in the air from other people smoking.

My father has copd from last 12 years now he has to hospitalized after 3 month regularly due to shortness of breath, chest tightness and dry cough. After coming home he is fine for 1 month only afterwards problem starts increasing.

MD - Pulmonary, DTCD
Pulmonologist, Faridabad
Recuurent copd execerbation. Try to identify cause for it and treat that. Can start ultra LABA and ULTRA LAMA combination. Have adult vaccination. Do pulmonary rehabilitation.
1 person found this helpful

Sir I use duoln, combmst and foracort for copd but after that very difficult to urinate and prostrated problem please suggest me other best inhaler for my copd thanks.

MBBS, MD - Pulmonary Medicine
Pulmonologist, Kolkata
Duolin and combimist have same composition and amenable for urinary hasitancy. Your disease should be assessed properly to create your best suitable inhaler prescription.

I (60) am COPD Patient. Last one year I am taking Sequadra regularly, using bi-pap at night regularly and taking sildenafil 25 mg (for my pulmonary hypertension) at night regularly. Now I am in good condition. My question- Can I or should I stop / continue sildenafil 25 mg now? My doctor has left the country to London. Thus I need help.

Pulmonologist, Visakhapatnam
According to literature sildenafil have minimal beneficial affects on pulmonary hypertension. That means it may be useful in some patients. If your symptoms are improving with sildenafil then you can continue. Even if you stop also it won't make any significant difference. But all that is subjective.
2 people found this helpful

I am 68 years old. I have Allergic Asthma and COPD (Chronic obstructive Pulmonary disease). Allergy is due to pollution, sudden weather changes etc. I am taking precautions like not exposing to pollution etc. To take care of Asthma. I am also using COMBIHALE FB 200 (2 puffs daily twice) and Romilast 5 mg. Question is how can I get cured of COPD, because of which I feel breathlessness when ever I exert even slightly.

MBBS, MRCP - General Medicine, MRCP Respiratory Medicine, CCST Respiratory Medicine
Pulmonologist, Gurgaon
COPD is an incurable diastase, but normally it does not progress if you stop smoking. You might benefit from adding more inhalers to your regimen. Please see a pulmonologist.
2 people found this helpful

Table of Content

What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?

Symptoms :

Treatment :

Play video
COPD
Understanding what causes COPD and what are the signs that a person might be suffering from it.

Clinical diagnosis of COPD is usually made by presence of symptoms that is cough, sputum production, breathlessness and spirometry. Assessment of COPD is also made by spirometry and rate of excess exacerbation. With each exacerbation there is increased breathlessness, increase in the sputum production, increase in cough, there is sputum may be dark in color which shows infection. For each excess exacerbation there is permanent damage of a lung and severity of the COPD may increase.

Treatment of COPD is by pharmacotherapy which aims to control the symptoms of the patient and prevent exacerbation. If you prevent the exacerbation then the patient health improves and prevent further damage to the lungs. If a patient is Breathless on walking at ground level, then the patient may be helped by rehabilitation and by increasing the day to day activities. Exacerbation can be prevented by adult vaccination that is vaccination for non invasive pneumococcal infection and flu vaccination. This disease is gradually progressive. Symptoms can be controlled with pharmacotherapy. But the disease cannot be cured. The main aim of the diseases to prevent and to prevent is hundred percent. If one avoid smoking, exposure to occupational gases and inter Biomass exposure. Patient of COPD should consult a chest physician or respiratory physician.

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