An irreversible inflammatory lung condition, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) usually affects people who smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke. Long term exposure to industrial pollutants, dust and air pollution can also cause COPD. An umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis and refractory (non-reversible) asthma, COPD is often characterized by increasing breathlessness.
One of the common COPD terms, emphysema is triggered when the walls inside the air sacs disappear, causing the smaller sacs to become larger. These larger sacs are unable to absorb oxygen, due to which less oxygen is absorbed into the blood, explain health practitioners at AMRI Hospital in Kolkata.
On the other hand, chronic bronchitis is caused by damage to the bronchial tubes, leading to cough and shortness of breath. Usually, when mucus accompanies cough for 3 months, it turns into chronic bronchitis. The third type of COPD is refractory (non-reversible) asthma, which does not respond to usual asthma medications.
COPD is more dangerous than most people think. The disease can lead to lung cancer and scarring of the lungs. It is one of the leading causes of death in many countries. So, it becomes important to spread awareness about this disease and reduce its risk, especially during this COPD Awareness Month.
The symptoms of Asthma and COPD may be common, but they come with different underlying problems. The airway obstruction is reversible in case of asthma, whereas the condition is irreversible in COPD. Some of the common symptoms of COPD include recurrent cough, shortness of breath, cough, etc. According to medical experts at AMRI Hospitals, it is important to consult your healthcare provider as soon as you notice any of these symptoms.
People suffering from COPD often experience weight loss and lack of energy. Its treatment is based on risk reduction, which includes medication involving steroids and bronchodilators delivered by inhalation or nebulization. Supplement oxygen may also be required, along with BiPAP treatment to support respiration. Patients may also need intubation and mechanical ventilation in severe cases.
Thus, it becomes important to avoid practices that may lead to COPD. One should also keep a track of one’s respiratory health for early detection of such diseases in order to lead a healthy life.