What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is an advanced lung disease which is characterized by breathlessness and used as an umbrella term under which many other problems are included

Emphysema

Chronic bronchitis

Refractory (non-reversible) asthma

Some forms of bronchiectasis

Two major forms of COPD

Emphysema

This disease causes the impairment and damage to the air sacs in the lungs. Air sacs gets constricted and doesn’t allow to contract and expand. Thus it becomes difficult to inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.

Chronic bronchitis 

Breathing becomes difficult due to blockage which can be caused in the airways due to swelling and thickness. It causes constriction in the air passage. It increases the amount of mucus in the lungs which causes blockage of air.

How to identify COPD?

It is a common disease but unfortunately not commonly diagnosed one. Report says that  COPD caused 5% deaths in 2004 but predictions have made that it will be the world’s third biggest cause of mortality till 2030 (World Health Organizations WHO, Global Burden of Disease Report).

In older age, coughing and shortness of breath is usually reported which shouldn’t be messed up with this disease. It has following symptoms:

Sometimes, it is hard to diagnose COPD as its symptoms becomes noticeable at more later and developed stage.  It must be kept on mind that this disease is incurable and its treatment is not successful but the good thing is that it is manageable. Right and proper diagnoses and treatment can lead to a healthy life.

Few symptoms are as follows but can vary from person to person

Breath is shortened

Repeated and recurrent coughing. Coughing can be with and without mucus or phlegm)

Breathlessness increased

Feeling of exhaustion and tiredness

Puffed

Rigidity and toughness in the chest

First aid tips and management

Don’t panic. Stay calm, relaxed but mentally vigilant

Provide maximum air by letting him breath in an open area

Provide CPR to regain proper breath

Call emergency and immediately run to the hospital

Management of symptoms can improve condition

Manage infections

Stay active and encourage him to stay active

Some smokers also suffers from this. Cessation of smoking is an important part of treatment.