Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – Causes, Treatment, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - Causes, Treatment, Symptoms, and Diagnosis
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – Causes, Treatment, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, commonly known in short as COPD is not one, but a group of several lung diseases, all related to shortness of breath. The two main types are chronic bronchitis and emphysema, although there are many more that include in this category. COPD is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that destroys your small airways in the lungs called the bronchial tubes. These tubes pump the oxygen outward, thus messing with your breathing problems. It is caused by inhaling harmful chemicals that can damage your body system such as smoking cigarettes. It is categorized by a severe cough and mucus production. People with this medical condition are more prone to develop heart diseases.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Symptoms

The symptoms of COPD are quite mild and people may mistake it with a cold. They are not quite significant until lung damage has occurred; making it difficult to detect. The results may show up after 2 months to 2 years of exposure to the harmful chemicals that cause it. Persistent cough and wheezing are the common symptoms of COPD. You may face shortness in breath and start avoiding exercises or other physical activities. You may also feel the urge to clean your throat more often than before. At later stages, you will feel more severity in coughing. There will be chest tightness and you will frequently catch a cold. You may also observe weight loss or lack in energy. In case of fainting or racing of heart, immediately seek for medical help.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Causes

The single biggest cause of COPD is tobacco smoking. Almost 90% of the people with COPD are smokers or have a history with smoking. If you have asthma or any other lung disease than you are more prone to COPD. All kinds of smoke are harmful for you. This includes cigar smoke, pipe smoke, e-cigarette smoke etc. COPD may also be caused by exposure to harmful chemicals through fumes from industrial factories, burning fuel for cooking and even poorly ventilated houses.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diagnosis

COPD is often misdiagnosed with smokers as they may have other related conditions. Sometimes it may be diagnosed quite late after much of the severe symptoms have occurred. Your doctor will examine you based on your symptoms. He will ask you if you are a smoker or if you have any previous smoking experience. He will also ask you about your workplace and if you are exposed to harmful chemical fumes, as well as check your medical history. He will check your lungs and the way you breathe. He may also go for other tests such as chest X-ray or CT scan. Lung Pulmonary test can also be used to examine the functioning of the lungs. An arterial blood gas test can be done to see the level of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood. The tests will help in giving the clear picture if you have COPD or any other lung diseases such as asthma.The doctor will then be able to give you the suitable treatment

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Treatments

There are several treatments available that can reduce your COPD and prevent further complications. Your doctor will best guide you based on your case.     

The best treatment is to stop smoking cigarettes or shift from any place that is surrounded by such fumes. Consult your doctor for therapies and nicotine placement products and medications.

Bronchodilator is another medication that will relax your muscles in the airways and help you breathe. This may be taken through an inhaler or the nebulizer.

Oxygen Supplemental can also be used to increase the supply of oxygen in the body that is very much needed for your muscles. The doctor may prescribe you antibiotics to soothe the inflammation and other symptoms that you are facing. Theophylline is an inexpensive medicine that can improve your breathing power.  If you have a severe case of COPD, your doctor may recommend surgery. There are many types of surgery available such as lung transplant or lung volume reduction surgery.

Prevention In very simple terms, the easiest way to prevent COPD from occurring is to stay away from smoking and all the areas where smoking is common. Avoid going in industrial areas where harmful chemicals are released. Take a nutritious diet and exercise every day to give your body more self-defense power.