A Few Things About Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a condition of the lungs that makes breathing difficult. There can be many types of this malady, including emphysema or bronchiectasis.
Some warning signs that COPD is developing is a chronic cough. A cough that lasts more than a month is considered chronic. It’s a sign that something is wrong with a person’s respiratory system.
Shortness of breath that continues even after rest after normal exercise, or that happens even when the person isn’t engaged in anything strenuous is also a sign of developing COPD. Another sign is when it’s simply difficult to breathe and the person feels as if they just can’t get enough air in their lungs.
Chronic production of phlegm is another sign. Phlegm is made by the lungs as a defense against infection or irritants. If the phlegm production lasts a month this could also be a sign that something is wrong.
Wheezy or noisy breathing is also a sign. It usually means that the passageways in the lungs are becoming narrow or something is blocking them.
Coughed up blood might be coming from the lungs or the upper respiratory tract and is always the sign of a problem.
Cigarette smoking is a major cause of COPD. When a person smokes the irritants in the cigarette cause the cilia in the lungs to slow down. Cilia are part of the lungs’ defense mechanism. When they slow down, it impairs the lungs’ ability to defend themselves. Cigarette smoke can also cause airways to close up and can make breathing difficult. Smoke also sets up a chronic inflammation in the lungs and changes the enzyme balance in the lungs. This makes it easier for lung tissue to be destroyed and lead to emphysema.
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for COPD. However, the condition can be treated to ease some of the symptoms. Some doctors prescribe bronchodilators, which help keep the lung airways open. They might also prescribe steroids, which clears some lung inflammation. The patient might also undergo pulmonary rehabilitation, which is a combination of exercise, diet and counseling to help them cope with their disease. Pulmonary rehab might involve a team of health professionals.
People with COPD are also encouraged to have flu shots, because the flu can be exceptionally dangerous for them.
Some patients also take oxygen therapy to help them breathe better. The oxygen can be delivered through a nasal cannula.
Surgery, though a last resort, might also help with the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only and is not, nor is it ever intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice or professional recommendations, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician(s) or other qualified healthcare provider(s) – Author is a freelance copywriter.