Find out what COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease refers to, the main cause, the warning signs of COPD and tips in regards to surviving the flare-ups of COPD in the following article by Prime Plus Medical Clinic Bali.
So, what is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD?
COPD refers to a condition of one contracting a cluster of pulmonary or lung diseases that lead to breathing difficulty. Raising awareness of this health issue and recognizing the warning signs of COPD are so important that every November 17 is specially celebrated as a World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease day or World COPD Day. Some of the diseases following COPD are emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and refractory asthma.
Emphysema is described as a condition where your alveoli walls are going through damage, causing the air sacs to become one. That one large air sac can narrow down the space in the lung and interrupt the airflow. As a result, you can’t quite absorb enough oxygen to run into your bloodstream. Also, the carbon dioxide that is supposed to be breathed out is trapped within making you feel so hard to breathe.
The most apparent sign of chronic bronchitis is the prolonged cough with phlegm that lasts for months with lots of build-up mucus. People with this disease no longer have a cilia line that plays a role in clearing out the mucus or phlegm. This is why your coughing is difficult to recover.
Refractory asthma is different from normal asthma. It’s nonreversible and unfortunately, the usual remedies for asthma cannot treat the disease.
Currently, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States of America. The figure has reached over ten million of the total citizens and many of the sufferers might not realize they’re contracting the disease.
What is the main cause of COPD?
We have found out so far that most COPD patients are adults and they are either involved in smoking addiction or exposed to air pollution that may plague the lungs. A proclivity in your genetics may also elevate your risk of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
Based on a study, it was unveiled that about 5% of people with COPD have a lack of alpha-1-antitrypsin. The deficiency in this protein might affect the deterioration of your lungs and liver.
What are the main symptoms of COPD? – The Warning Signs of COPD
In the beginning, you might not realize you’re already living with COPD since the symptoms are so mild and you might mistake them for mere cold symptoms with occasional coughing, difficult breathing, and the need for throat clearing the moment you wake up. As time passes, the symptoms become more and more apparent and it’s getting harder for you to breathe especially when you’re doing physical activity. We provide several warning signs of COPD you should watch out for that indicates the condition of your lungs is worsening.
- unintentional weight loss
- easily feeling worn out and you even faint after carrying out light activities like going up the stairs
- a protuberance around the areas of your feet
- feeling heavy to breathe with a gasping motion
- long-lasting cough whether with mucus or not
- the need to throat clearing on a daily basis
- recurrent cold symptoms
- Pale fingernails that signify your blood is lacking oxygen
Seek medical attention immediately when your breathing difficulty makes you unable to talk, walk, and it causes you a lot of trouble doing your regular activities. Don’t ignore the symptoms since untreated COPD might bring about complications like other respiratory infections, depression, heart diseases, lung cancer, and pulmonary hypertension.
Keeping up with COPD
The key to living with COPD is to accept there are certain things you should avoid and observe so you can have your best life ahead. Keeping a log with you is a smart move that allows you to get the most effective early treatment because you will be aware of when your COPD might get worse. A log can assist you to track down what you have experienced including the warning signs of COPD and what’s your take on improving your disease. You can fill in your log with all the symptoms and the chronology when you encounter acute exacerbation, the treatments, diet, and records of the physical activities you have been through.
Although the exact cure has not yet existed, you can consider our tips below to help you alleviate the symptoms.
- Find a way to quit smoking and avoid tobacco smoke, fumes, and air pollution.
- Abide by your checkup schedule and regular medications
- Take a daily breathing practice
- Perform light workouts
- Observe a balanced diet recommended by your doctor. It is necessary to get you in the most favorable weight to allow you the ease of breathing. You don’t want to be overweight or underweight since both can make your breathing worse.
- Drink lots of lukewarm water to clear the mucus that clogs your throat and airways. You can also use a humidifier if needed
- Surround yourself with people who support you during the recovery process.
Calming down your acute exacerbation
It’s a condition when it’s tough for you to perform proper breathing in addition to constant coughing with mucus. Acute exacerbation might cause respiratory failure. And we suggest, there’s no better deal than to visit your doctor as soon as possible to receive the care you require if you’re undergoing this condition. To prevent acute exacerbation, you may have to gear up with annual flu and pneumonia vaccines. Some of the treatments also include steroid inhalers, long-acting bronchodilators, and your prescribed medicines.