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COPD Tips

COPD - 3 Factors That Can Put You At Risk!

Dr. Gurmeet Singh Chabbra 86% (11 ratings)
MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MD - Chest & TB
Pulmonologist, Faridabad
COPD - 3 Factors That Can Put You At Risk!

COPD, which is short for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is a severe form of lung disease that is characterized by increased breathlessness and obstruction of airflow from the lungs. People who are suffering from COPD are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer, heart diseases and many other conditions. It includes progressive lung diseases such as chronic bronchitisemphysema, few forms of bronchiectasis and refractory (non-reversible) asthma. The former two are the most common conditions contributing to COPD. 

Chronic bronchitis induces inflammation in the airway that carries air to the lungs and fills it with mucus. This either completely blocks the airway or narrows it, causing difficulty in breathing. However in emphysema, the air sacs inside the lungs which inflate and deflate as you breathe in and out, lose their elasticity due to which less air comes in and goes out leaving you breathless.

The best way to treat COPD is to quit smoking. Your doctor may also prescribe you medications or ask you to enroll in a lung rehab program. 
Causes:

  1. Smoking: Smoking is one of the most common causes of COPD. This is because smoking is known to destroy the stretchy fibers in people's lungs and irritate the airways. Even passive smoking is unhealthy. About 90% of the people having COPD are current or former smokers. 
  2. Genetics: Some individuals suffer from COPD even after refraining from smoking. Genes might be at the helm of COPD in such a case. AATD i.e. Alpha -1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, is a protein in the lungs, the lack of which is one of the most common genetic factor causing emphysema. 
  3. Environmental Factors: Breathing in harmful pollutants present in your environment is also one of the causes of COPD. Fumes, dust or certain chemicals are a few examples of harmful lung irritants. Organic cooking fuel may also cause COPD. Exposing yourself to the aforementioned environmental factors for a prolonged period of time increases your risk of developing COPD substantially. 

Symptoms:

  1. Shortness of breath especially after exercising
  2. Wheezing
  3. Tightness in your chest
  4. Unintended weight loss
  5. Lack of energy
  6. Frequent respiratory infections
  7. Wheezing
  8. Cough accompanied by mucus

Diagnosis:

  1. Physical Exam where your doctor monitors the functioning of your lungs. 
  2. Questioning about your past health (Smoking or other harmful lung irritants).
  3. Spirometry and other breathing tests.
  4. Chest x-rays and other tests to eliminate other problems which could be causing your symptoms.
2 people found this helpful

Better Living with COPD - A Patient Guide!

Dr. Mool Chand Gupta 91% (34813 ratings)
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!

3508 people found this helpful

Lung or Pulmonary Diseases: What You Need To Know?

Dr. Anand N Yannawar 86% (10 ratings)
MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, Diploma In HIV, DNB - Respiratory Diseases, V P Chest Delhi
Pulmonologist, Pune
Lung or Pulmonary Diseases: What You Need To Know?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

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

3167 people found this helpful

Good Habits Great Benefits

Dr. Brahma Prakash 92% (705 ratings)
DNB(Respiratory Diseases), MBBS
Pulmonologist, Jabalpur
Good Habits Great Benefits

Taking Inhalers regularly on time is a good habit which can give tremendous benefits to patients of COPD and Asthma.

1 person found this helpful

COPD - Can Oxygen Therapy Help Treat It?

Dr. Hemant Kalra 88% (336 ratings)
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!
2038 people found this helpful

Common Disease Of Lung

Dr. R.K.Chopra 91% (101 ratings)
MD - Medicine, MD - Pulmonary Medicine
Pulmonologist, Pune

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. 

1 person found this helpful

Pulmonary Function Tests - Why Is It Required?

Dr. Mool Chand Gupta 91% (34813 ratings)
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!

4507 people found this helpful

Best Diet For People Suffering From COPD!

Dr. Mool Chand Gupta 91% (34813 ratings)
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!

 

4533 people found this helpful

COPD - Are You Aware Of These Myths & Facts?

Dr. Virendra Kumar Raju 89% (10 ratings)
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. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

6424 people found this helpful

Hyperventilation - How COPD Patients Can Deal With It?

Dr. Mool Chand Gupta 91% (34813 ratings)
MD - Pulmonary, DTCD
Pulmonologist, Faridabad
Hyperventilation - How COPD Patients Can Deal With It?

A discomfort in chest accompanied by shortness of breath and a tingling sensation in fingers or toes might be a sign of hyperventilation, more commonly known as panic attacks. This is the condition wherein you need more amount of oxygen than normal.

And, you need to be aware of the symptom, especially if you are suffering from COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). With COPD, experiencing symptoms of hyperventilation may turn adverse, and there are enough reasons to know the ways to manage it, which is indeed possible.

Symptoms
Hyperventilating or over-breathing can be accompanied by or can cause various symptoms in people. Apart from the common symptoms described above, some patients may also experience dizziness, palpitations, sweating profusely, wheeze, feelings of suffocation or choking, tinnitus, weakness, etc. Some may also feel highly anxious or tensed. Though very uncommon, still, one may suffer from loss of consciousness as a result of hyperventilating.

Dealing with hyperventilation
Depending on the severity and type of hyperventilation, the available treatment option may vary from person to person. From various home remedies to certain prescribed drugs, treatments are available easily. However, it’s through practicing a few techniques on noticing the symptoms that can help one deal with hyperventilation. Some of those useful methods are, breathing through pursed lips, holding the breath for 10 to 15 seconds, trying to take deep breaths into the belly rather than in the chest and breathing slowly into cupped hands or a paper bag. These techniques will help regulate the breathing.

Preventing hyperventilation

  • As with many conditions, being aware of the preventive measures is crucial to managing the symptoms and the same is true with hyperventilation as well. A few measures to follow by COPD patients to prevent hyperventilation
  • Wearing tight fitting clothes restrict normal breathing. Therefore, wearing clothes that are loose on the upper chest portion can assist in preventing over breathing.
  • Opting for light exercises regularly (approved by the doctors, as having COPD needs extra attention in activities) helps in reducing stress levels and anxiety, which again can play a crucial role in preventing hyperventilating.
  • Though initially, it may be difficult, still, one must try to breathe through his or her nose and close the mouth for preventing over-breathing, as closed mouth makes it extremely difficult to hyperventilate.
  • Further, sleeping well during the night, eating a balanced diet, reducing the intake of caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee, and practicing various techniques for relaxation can be helpful too in preventing hyperventilation.

In case, the episodes of hyperventilation last for more than 30 minutes, even after trying all the techniques mentioned above, one should not delay in seeking necessary medical attention.
Growing episodes of hyperventilation or over-breathing can leave one feeling breathless. Therefore, when people with COPD notice any symptom of hyperventilation, consulting with pulmonology specialist must be of top priority. Neglecting this particular condition for an extended period may end up causing further complications. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3951 people found this helpful
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