Smoking, pollution cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder
In India, more than 10 million cases of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are reported annually. The leading causes of the respiratory disease, usually affecting older patients, and now the younger population are smoking and pollution.
What are the symptoms of COPD?
The common symptoms of COPD include difficulty in breathing, cough, mucus (sputum) production and wheezing. People with COPD are at increased risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer and a variety of other conditions. COPD is also a collective term used for a group of lung disease which causes blockage in airflow and cause more severity of disease. Emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis are some types of disease that cause lung damage and difficulty in breathing. The other causes of COPD include inhaling pollutants which include smoking (cigarettes, pipes, cigars, etc), passive smoking with fumes, chemicals in work environments. Genetics may also play a role in an individual’s development of COPD—even if the person has never smoked or has ever been exposed to strong lung irritants in the workplace.
What to do if you are suffering from the signs and symptoms of COPD?
If you are a chronic smoker or an old age person and are suffering from the signs and symptoms of COPD, it is advised that you consult a pulmonologist at the earliest. The chest specialist shall recommend a few tests to confirm the diagnosis and gauge the stage of the disease, such as, spirometry test, imaging tests and arterial blood gas test.
How is COPD Treated?
Treatments of COPD include medication, oxygen therapy and surgery followed by changes in lifestyle. Medication Treatment: Bronchodilators are medicines that help relax the muscles of the airways so that you can breathe easier. They’re usually taken through an inhaler. Gluco- corticosteroids can be added to reduce inflammation in the airways. Oxygen Therapy Treatment: If blood oxygen levels are low, oxygen is given through a mask or nasal prongs to help breathe better. Surgery: It is reserved for severe COPD or when other treatments have failed. There are few surgeries like bullectomy, lung volume reduction surgery, etc that are considered in select patients when the disease is at an advanced stage. To lower risk of other respiratory infections, ask your doctor to advise a yearly flu shot, pneumococcal vaccine, and a tetanus booster that includes protection from pertussis or whooping cough.
Disclaimer: The veracity of any health claim made in the above article is the responsibility of the concerned hospital/doctor.