Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease affects over 55.3 million people in India and is the second leading cause of death and disability. Some common risk factors contributing to COPD in the country include tobacco smoking, both active and passive. Exposure to pollution, dust, and wood-burning stoves are some of the other reasons causing COPD. Read on to learn more about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, including symptoms, causes, and treatment.
What Is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that restricts airflow to the lungs, causing breathing problems. Chronic bronchitis or emphysema are two of the main contributors to COPD. While chronic bronchitis is characterised by chronic cough caused by an inflammation in the lining of the bronchial tubes, emphysema is characterised by breathlessness, fatigue, and wheezing and is caused when the air sacs in the lungs are destroyed.
COPD is a progressive disease that gets worse with time. In the long term, COPD damages the lungs or causes them to be clogged by phlegm. People with COPD are at risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer, weak muscles, and even depression. However, with timely chronic obstructive pulmonary disease treatment, patients with COPD can prevent the risk of related complications and maintain a good quality of life.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Symptoms
The most common chronic obstructive pulmonary disease symptoms are difficulty breathing and coughing. Patients with COPD also feel constantly tired. Some of the other common symptoms include wheezing, chest tightness, and swelling in the ankles and feet. They also experience occasional flare-ups that last a few days and need additional medication.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Causes
In a developing country like India, one of the leading causes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is exposure to poor air quality, smoke exposure from burning wood, cow dung, or other types of fuel in a poorly ventilated place, and exposure to chemical fumes and dust.
In developed countries, smoking, both passive and active, is one of the main reasons for COPD. But, in general, some of the leading causes for COPD include genetics, asthma, early life complications like premature birth, poor growth in the utero, and a severe respiratory infection that may have affected maximum lung growth.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Treatment
Bronchodilator inhalers help open the airways by reducing the swelling. While short-acting bronchodilators are effective during flare-ups and work within seconds, long-acting bronchodilators take time to work but are taken daily and combined with inhaled steroids. Patients must be educated about the correct use of inhalers to help the medication be delivered into the airways effectively.
Doctors also suggest steroids and antibiotics to treat flare-ups. Patients suffering from COPD for a long time may be prescribed supplemental oxygen. In the long term, the doctor may recommend learning breathing exercises to improve breathing. Surgery may be an effective chronic obstructive pulmonary disease treatment in extreme cases.
Symptoms such as coughing and wheezing are treated through antibiotics. Patients with long-term COPD are also suggested to opt for pulmonary rehabilitation, a customized treatment that teaches patients how to manage COPD and maintain their quality of life.
Preventing Associated Complications Caused By COPD
If you are a smoker, you must quit the habit immediately. Also, avoid secondhand smoke, including smoke from indoor cooking fires. Don’t forget to take the COVID-19 vaccines, including the latest boosters.
When To Consult a Lung Specialist in Nagercoil
A pulmonologist specialist in Nagercoil can help address the complications arising out of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. They perform procedures like bronchoscopy to assess COPD damage in the lungs. They also guide patients on lifestyle modifications and offer pulmonary rehabilitation programs.