COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease): Overview

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a lung condition that causes shortness of breath and a persistent cough. Although this progressive lung disorder has no cure, it may be treated (and its progression slowed) by following appropriate measures and working closely with your doctor. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the most frequent of these disorders. Both of these disorders are common in patients with COPD. Emphysema causes outward airflow to be obstructed by the gradual destruction of air sacs in the lungs. Bronchitis is characterized by inflammation and constriction of the bronchial passages, allowing mucus to accumulate. COPD, if left untreated, can lead to quicker disease progression, cardiac difficulties, and severe respiratory infections.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

COPD Symptoms

It makes breathing difficult. At first, the symptoms may be mild, with occasional coughing and shortness of breath. Symptoms might grow more consistent as time goes on, making breathing extremely difficult.

Early symptoms of COPD

COPD symptoms might be quite mild at first. They might be mistaken for a cold. It involves

  • Shortness of breath on occasion, especially after exertion.
  • Cough that is mild but recurring.
  • Frequently clearing your throat, particularly first thing in the morning.
Symptoms of COPD

Worsening symptoms

Symptoms might become increasingly severe and difficult to ignore. You may have symptoms as your lungs get increasingly damaged.

  • Even mild forms of exercise, such as going up a flight of stairs, can cause shortness of breath.
  • Wheezing is a form of higher-pitched loud breathing that occurs often during exercise.
  • Exhalations
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Coughing for a long time, with or without mucous
  • Need to clear mucus from your lungs every day
  • Colds, flu, or other respiratory diseases on a regular basis
  • Energy deficiency In later stages of COPD, symptoms may also include:
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of the feet, ankles, or legs
  • Weight loss

COPD Causes

The majority of people with COPD are at least 40 years old or have a history of smoking. The longer people smoke and the more tobacco products people consume, the more likely they develop the condition. In addition to cigarette smoking, It can be caused by cigar smoke, pipe smoke, and secondhand smoke. If you smoke and have asthma, your chances of developing COPD are significantly higher.

  • Passive smoking
  • Indoor cooking with poor ventilation
  • Air pollution
  • Exposure to chemicals
  • Exposure to industrial dust and fumes
  • Intravenous drug abuse
  • Infections, such as HIV
  • Genetic disorders, such as Marfan syndrome and alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency

Risks factors

It has a number of risks, including

  • Smoking: This is the most significant risk factor. COPD affects up to 75% of those who smoke or are used to smoking.
  • Long-term exposure: To additional lung irritants from the environment or workplace, such as secondhand smoking, air pollution, chemical fumes, and dust.
  • Age: When COPD symptoms first appear, most patients are at least 40 years old.
  • Genetics: This covers the hereditary disorder alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Smokers who develop COPD are also more prone to do so if they have a family history of the disease.
  • Asthma: Asthmatics are more likely to acquire COPD than persons who do not have asthma. However, most asthmatics do not get It.
Risk Factors for COPD


Your doctor will ask about your COPD signs and symptoms, your medical history, and whether you smoke or have been exposed to chemicals, dust, or smoke at work. They’ll also do a physical exam and breathing tests. Let them know if you have an ongoing cough.

The most common test is called spirometry. You’ll breathe into a large, flexible tube that’s connected to a machine called a spirometer. It’ll measure how much air your lungs can hold and how fast you can blow air out of them. Your doctor may order other tests to rule out other lung problems, such as asthma or heart failure. These might include.

  • More lung function tests
  • Chest X-rays that can help rule out emphysema, other lung problems, or heart failure
  • CT scan, which uses several X-rays to create a detailed picture of your lungs and can tell the doctor if you need surgery or if you have lung cancer
  • Arterial blood gas test, which measures how well your lungs are bringing in oxygen and taking out carbon dioxide
  • Laboratory tests to determine the cause of your symptoms or rule out other conditions, like the genetic disorder alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency

COPD Treatment

Because there is no cure, the purpose of treatment is to alleviate the symptoms and slow the progression of the condition. In addition, the doctor will work to prevent or treat any other complication and improve the overall quality of life. Giving up smoking is one of the best things you can do to keep your COPD from worsening.

Medical treatment

The medical treatment includes:

  • Bronchodilators: These medications are inhaled. They aid in the opening of your airways.
  • Corticosteroids: These medications help to minimise airway inflammation. They might be inhaled or taken as tablets.
  • Combination inhalers: Steroids and a bronchodilator are included in these inhalers.
  • Antibiotics: These may be prescribed by the doctor to treat bacterial infections.
  • Roflumilast(Daliresp): This medication inhibits an enzyme known as PDE4. It prevents flare-ups in persons with COPD who also have chronic bronchitis.
  • Flu or pneumonia vaccines: These immunizations reduce the risk of respiratory infections such as COVID-19.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation: To help you stay as healthy and active as possible, this programme combines exercise, illness management, and counselling.
  • Oxygen therapy: You may require this to alleviate shortness of breath, protect your organs, and improve your overall quality of life.

In severe cases of COPD, your doctor may suggest

  • Bullectomy: Removes bullae, large air spaces that form when air sacs collapse
  • Lung volume reduction surgery: Removes diseased lung tissue
  • Lung transplant: Replaces a diseased lung with a healthy one

Find Our Specialists

Book Free Doctor Appointment

Make an appointment just in few minutes - Call Us Now

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is COPD a progressive disease?

Yes, It is typically progressive, meaning it worsens over time. However, with proper management and lifestyle changes, the progression can be slowed & symptoms can be controlled.

2. Can non-smokers get COPD?

Yes, although smoking is the most common cause of COPD, non-smokers can also develop the disease due to factors like long-term exposure to secondhand smoke, workplace pollutants, or genetic predisposition.

3. Can COPD be prevented?

While COPD can't always be completely prevented, the best way to reduce your risk is to avoid smoking or quit if you are a smoker. Reducing exposure to environmental pollutants and practicing good lung health habits can also help.

4. Is there a cure for COPD?

Although there is no cure for COPD, appropriate management and therapy can help reduce symptoms, improve quality of life, and decrease the disease's development.

Whats app Health Packages Book an Appointment Second Opinion