What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a common lung disease. Having COPD makes it hard to breathe. There are two main forms of COPD: Chronic Bronchitis, which involves a long-term cough with mucus and Emphysema, which involves damage to the lungs over time.

COPD is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe. Progressive means the disease gets worse over time. COPD can cause coughing that produces large amounts of a slimy substance called mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms.

Symptoms

Here are 9 early warning signs and symptoms of COPD:

  • Increased shortness of breath is a classic early warning symptom
  • Coughing more than usual
  • Chest tightness
  • Feeling anxious
  • Fluid retention
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling cold symptoms
  • Sputum changes colors

What is the most common symptom of COPD?

  • An ongoing cough or a cough that produces a lot of mucus, often called smoker’s cough
  • Shortness of breath, especially with physical activity
  • Wheezing or a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe
  • Chest tightness

Initial Treatment

  1. Lung (pulmonary) function tests. Pulmonary function tests measure the amount of air you can inhale and exhale, and if your lungs are delivering enough oxygen to your blood.
  2. Chest X-ray
  3. CT scan
  4. Arterial blood gas analysis
  5. Laboratory tests

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease makes it increasingly difficult for a person to breathe. It is not currently possible to cure or reverse the condition completely, but a person can reduce its impact by making some lifestyle changes. Symptoms of COPD may include a nagging cough.

Those with stage 3 or 4 COPD have a life expectancy of 8.5 years or 5.8 years lower. Former smokers lose 0.5 years for smoking, 1.4 additional years for stage 2 COPD and 5.6 additional years for stage 3 or 4 COPD, compared with otherwise similar individuals who do not have lung disease.

The long-acting bronchodilators available today are:

  • aclidinium (Tudorza)
  • arformoterol (Brovana)
  • formoterol (Foradil, Perforomist)
  • glycopyrrolate (Seebri Neohaler)
  • indacaterol (Arcapta)
  • olodaterol (Striverdi Respimat)
  • salmeterol (Serevent)
  • tiotropium (Spiriva)

COPD is a preventable disease. If a patient does get COPD but stops smoking, they can go into remission. Twenty-five percent of people go into remission if they stop smoking, but it is very hard to stop.

The 5-year life expectancy for people with COPD ranges from 40% to 70%, depending on disease severity. This means that 5 years after diagnosis, 40 to 70 out of 100 people will be alive. For severe COPD, the 2-year survival rate is just 50%.

Patients suffering from COPD often need assistance and they may even need to use a nebulizer or suction machine to help get rid of the built-up mucus in the lungs. The caregivers and nurses at Holistic Healthcare (Pvt.) Limited have been serving patients in the comfort of their homes. Call us today at 03000 341 678 to talk to our healthcare providers.

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