By Dr Alla Bhagyaraj
Published on 16/11/2022
With the dramatic air pollution increase in India, various health experts have shown red flags for the rise in the number of people reporting chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.
Living with COPD makes breathing difficult, and everyday chores might get challenging. Did you know? Although COPD cannot be cured, there are ways to improve patients' lives and prevent future cases!
Every year on November 16th, World COPD Day is marked to increase global awareness about the chronic inflammatory lung condition, as millions of people are unaware of this lung disease.
Ease Life With Healthy Lungs!
The Theme for World COPD Day 2022 is "Your Lungs for Life." highlighting the importance of lifelong lung health. Let's raise awareness of COPD and help people understand the condition and its treatment.
What is COPD?
COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a respiratory disorder that can affect people of any age worldwide and is also an umbrella term for progressive lung diseases, mainly emphysema, and chronic bronchitis, that block the air sacs and bronchial tubes within the lungs, causing breathing difficulties and lung damage. COPD often lasts several years and, in some cases, is a life-long condition.
The two most common disorders that can result in COPD are emphysema, a disease that tends to damage the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs, and chronic bronchitis, which may result in inflammation of the bronchial tubes' lining. Additionally, smoking, exposure to chemicals, and pollution can all contribute to COPD. Let's understand more about COPD!
Causes of COPD
The following are the primary causes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease:
- Tobacco smoking
- Constant second-hand smoke exposure
- Direct inhalation of toxic chemicals, fumes, and dust in an occupational setting
- Early childhood asthma diagnosis
- Developing alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, an uncommon genetic disease that causes COPD in young people.
- Constant contact with air pollution and dust.
- Inhaling fumes from the combustion of coal and fuel for cooking and heating in homes with inadequate ventilation
Symptoms of COPD
COPD is an inflammatory lung disease with symptoms similar to asthma; some patients have both conditions. The following symptoms identify COPD:
- Cough with the release of phlegm
- Breathing difficulty
- Loss of weight
- Excessive fatigue
- Accumulation of mucus in the lungs and nasal passages
- Uneasiness and tight clenching sensation in the chest
Can COPD be cured?
No, COPD cannot be cured. However, there are several treatment options that can help patients. Here are some treatment options:
Bronchodilators are medications that relax the muscles of the lungs' airways, making breathing easier. To decrease inflammation, glucocorticosteroids may be added. Other medicines are beta agonist and anticholinergics.
When the blood oxygen levels get low, oxygen is given through masks and nasal prongs to help people breathe better.
Surgery is performed in cases of severe COPD or when other treatment options have failed. Bullectomy is a frequent surgical treatment that removes the large air sacs, or "bullae," from the lungs. In addition, diseased lung tissues are removed during lung volume reduction surgery. In extreme cases, a lung transplant is required.
Here's how one can live better with COPD!
To reduce the symptoms of COPD, the following lifestyle changes must be implemented:
- If you are a regular smoker, then stop smoking.
- Avoid second-hand smoke and chemical fumes in any form.
- Consume all of the nutrition that the body requires.
- Consult the doctor about workout habits.
- If you experience any COPD symptoms, you should immediately see a doctor for an appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
- Maintain a healthy level of stress.
- Ensure a clean environment and make sure the home has good air quality.
- Stay physically active by running, walking, cycling, swimming, aerobics, and even going to the gym to lose those extra kilograms.
Consult our doctors for any pulmonology problems.