All You Need to Know About COPD
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is a serious illness that is caused by one or more lung problem like emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The disease gets worse over time and those who have it experiences breathing problems. COPD is the third leading cause of death in the US; hence, it is important to know what triggers the disease, how it can be treated, and what preventive measures you can take.
Causes of COPD
COPD is caused by long-term exposure to lung irritants. Understanding COPD causes is one of the first things you can do to prevent trigger points. Below is a list of the common cause of COPD:
- Prolonged exposure to elements that can damage your lungs like inhaling smoke, chemical fumes, workplace and household dust that may contain toxic elements.
- Air pollution
- Genetics. Some people are born to be more susceptible to develop the disease due to the lack of alpha 1-antitrypsin in their system.
Symptoms of COPD
Here are some symptoms of COPD:
- Constant coughing or “smokers cough”
- Difficulty in breathing when doing daily tasks
- Producing a lot of phlegm
- Shortness of breath
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is best that you consult with a physician to be certain of your health condition. One way of diagnosing COPD is through a test called Spirometry wherein a health care provider collects a sample of your breath. You blow into a tube that is attached to a machine that determines your breathing condition. Health history and a couple of health exams may also be included, such as chest x-ray.
Treatment of COPD
Once diagnosed with COPD, your physician provides a treatment plan for you. Here are the common solutions that physicians provide to those who are diagnosed with COPD:
- Quit smoking or avoid inhaling smoke and other harmful chemicals.
- Regularly take your prescribed medicine.
- Oxygen therapy may be prescribed to improve shortness of breath.
- You may be advised pulmonary rehabilitation. This type of rehabilitation educates you on how to properly manage the disease and its symptoms. You also get support through counselling.
- Severe cases may require surgery.
When you are suffering from COPD or you are living with someone who is diagnosed with the disease, you can improve the air quality in your home. There are air quality home test kits available in the market to help detect harmful elements present in your home. Such kits will help you provide better air quality in your household and protect your family from the possibility of acquiring COPD.