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COPD - Can Oxygen Therapy Help Treat It?

Dr. Hemant 90% (312 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!
2036 people found this helpful

Common Disease Of Lung

Dr. Rk Chopra Pune 92% (42 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 92% (34068 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!

4504 people found this helpful

Best Diet For People Suffering From COPD!

Dr. Mool Chand Gupta 92% (34068 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!


4528 people found this helpful

COPD - Are You Aware Of These Myths & Facts?

Dr. Virendra Kumar Raju 90% (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 92% (34068 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.

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!

3948 people found this helpful

Tips To Prevent COPD From Worsening!

Dr. Arun Madan 84% (28 ratings)
Pulmonologist, Delhi
Tips To Prevent COPD From Worsening!

COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and is generally used to describe a broad category of diseases. These include chronic bronchitis, emphysema, non-reversible asthma as well as some forms of bronchiectasis. All of these diseases, however, can be prevented from getting worse by taking similar measures as the causes of these diseases are very similar.

Here are the ways to prevent COPD exacerbations:

  1. Cleanliness: It is crucial that you do not allow infections to set in. Infections are probably the worst type of exacerbation possible in COPD. All you need to do to prevent infection is to take a little care to ensure good hygiene. Wash your hands often and do not allow people with colds or flu to come close to you.
  2. Take vaccines: Make sure your flu and pneumonia shots have not been missed.
  3. Take medicines: It is crucial that medicines for your lungs are taken on schedule, if you have COPD. The possible medicines which you could take if your doctor prescribes it includes inhaled beta-agonists, steroids and anticholinergics.
  4. Spirometry: Doctors often recommend the use of the portable Spirometry device, Spirometer, in case of COPD. Spirometers check the condition of the lungs by measuring various parameters to see how well the lungs are working. Spirometers can easily measure FEV1, a parameter which measures how much air can you blow out in one second. This is especially great if you do not know whether your condition has exacerbated or not.
  5. Corticosteroid: It is another type of medicine used, which can prevent COPD exacerbations. In its place, even inhaled beta-agonists or anticholinergics can also be used.

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

2621 people found this helpful

Winter Breathing Problems!

Dr. Shobhit Bansal 87% (129 ratings)
MBBS, DNB - Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy & Sleep Disorders
Pulmonologist, Noida
Winter Breathing Problems!

Seasonal changes can have a great impact on one's health. The onset of winters, in particular, can be quite harsh and difficult for people with chronic lung problems such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD, Asthma, and a host of similar lung and respiratory problems resulting in breathing problems. Without proper precaution, the condition will only deteriorate further, going from bad to worse. In this article, we will discuss why winter is often punishing for people with breathing problems along with the necessary precautionary measures.

During winters, the air is cold and dry, with reduced moisture and humidity which can trigger irritation and constriction of the airways (a condition known as Bronchospasm) leading to breathing troubles (there can be shortness of breath). During winters we all try and maintain a warm indoor temperature. When we go outside, we are suddenly exposed to the cold and dry air. This sudden temperature fluctuation can also wreak havoc triggering spasms and irritation of the lungs which interferes with the normal breathing.

People with Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Acute Bronchitis or Emphysema (a type of COPD, whereby there are over-inflation and damage of the alveoli resulting in shortness of breath) should be extra careful. Winter is a time when the microbial infections (viral, bacterial, fungal infections, to name a few) like cold, flu, are on a rise. The infections can trigger further irritation and inflammation of the lungs, worsening the situation significantly.

Preventive and precautionary measures

  1. Breathing problems can be controlled and managed with elan by following some simple yet effective preventive measures.
  2. Asthma patients or people who have breathing problems should always keep the inhaler (Bronchodilator) and the medications handy. However, those using bronchodilators (inhalers) should use it at least thirty minutes before stepping outside.
  3. If the temperature is cold and dry outside, use a scarf to cover your nose and mouth while going outside. Use of a cold air face mask can go a long way to avert the harmful effects of temperature changes on the airways and the lungs.
  4. During winters, the use of a Humidifier can work wonders to keep the air inside the house moist and humid. However, while using a humidifier, make sure the water you are using is demineralized or distilled to avoid bacteria from thriving into the humidifier. Also, make it a habit the clean the humidifier at regular intervals.
  5. Keep yourself warm and eat warm foods. Enrich your diet with citrus fruits and healthy vegetables to keep the various infections and cold at bay. Light or moderate exercise is a great way to keep the body warm.
  6. Incense sticks and cigarette smokes act as catalysts aggravating the breathing problem further. Keep away from such triggers as much as you can.

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

2691 people found this helpful

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - 5 Symptoms Of It!

Diploma in Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases (DTCD), Board Certified in Pulmonary Medicine, FCCP - Pulmonary Medicine
Pulmonologist, Nagpur
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - 5 Symptoms Of It!

The lungs are made of tubes through which air passes in and out for exchange of gases, taking in alveoli. It is 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 emphysemaThe 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 build 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.


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.

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

3573 people found this helpful

COPD- How Can It Be Treated?

Dr. Piyush Goel 91% (21 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Pulmonary Medicine, FNB-Critical Care and Medicine
Pulmonologist, Gurgaon
COPD- How Can It Be Treated?

The chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder is a highly prevalent lung disease. People affected by COPD suffer from difficulty in breathing which can hamper regular life to a considerable extent. Though there is no particular cure available for this condition so far, it can be essentially managed with lifestyle changes and proper treatments. This first step in the process is to quit smoking.

Which medicines are available for treating COPD?
Doctors use various medications for treating the symptoms and complications of this disease. Drugs that fall under any of the categories mentioned below, coupled with therapy sessions would be recommended.

  1. Bronchodilators: These medicines which tend to come in the form of an inhaler help in relaxing the muscles around the airways. It can assist in relieving coughing and shortness of breath making it easier to breathe. You may need a short-acting bronchodilator to provide quick relief and a long-acting bronchodilator to use on a regular basis.
  2. Combination inhalers: For those patients whose condition is severe and experience frequent flare-ups, combination inhalers are used. As the name implies, it is a combination of steroids and beta-agonist employed in the short or long acting bronchodilator. Your doctor might recommend this depending on your condition.
  3. Theophylline: This class of medicine is quite inexpensive which is commonly used in the treatment of COPD and asthma. It can improve breathing while preventing flare-ups. But the side effects of this medicine are many and may include fast heartbeat, headache, nausea, and even tremor. Hence, your doctor might advise this medication only if it suits you.

Can lung therapies help in treating COPD?
Doctors often use additional therapies for the treatment of moderate to severe COPD:

  1. Pulmonary rehabilitation program: These programs include exercise training, education, nutrition therapies and counseling. The affected person needs to work with the professionals who can tailor the rehabilitation program for meeting their specific needs. This treatment can shorten the duration of hospitalization and increase one’s ability to take part in daily activities.
  2. Oxygen therapy: If there is a lack of oxygen in the blood, you would need additional oxygen to supplement it. There are several types of equipment available in the market that can deliver oxygen to the lungs. Some of these are lightweight and portable which you may carry with you while running errands.

Is there any surgery available in the treatment of COPD?
Surgery may be the only option for people who have a severe form of COPD and emphysema. Some of the most common surgical interventions include bullectomy, lung transplant, and lung volume reduction surgery. There are individual risks and complications in each of these cases, and therefore, it is very important to manage the symptoms to avoid the need for surgical operations.

Thus, with caution and care, COPD can be managed effectively, and you may lead a normal life.

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