COPD

(Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

By: Sammy Seale

What is COPD?

A group of diseases that causes airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. It includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and in some cases asthma. COPD is not contagious. It is a carcinogen.

What causes COPD?

In the U.S. tobacco smoke is a huge key factor to progression or development of COPD. Also exposure to air pollutants in the home and workplace, genetic factors, and respiratory infections also play a big part. In other parts of the world indoor air quality is playing a huge role because of all the polluntants in the air.


Symptoms

  • Breathlessness with any type of activity.
  • Chronic cough.
  • Increase in sputum production.
  • Wheezing.
  • Fatigue.
  • Chest tightness.
  • Frequent chest infections.

History

COPD was the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2011. Fifteen million Americans report that they have been diagnosed with COPD. More than 50% of adults with low pulmonary function were not aware that they had COPD; therefore the actual number may be higher. The following were more likely to report COPD:

  • People aged 65–74 years.
  • Non-Hispanic whites.
  • Women.
  • Individuals who were unemployed, retired, or unable to work.
  • Individuals with less than a high school education.
  • People with lower incomes.
  • Individuals who were divorced, widowed, or separated.
  • Current or former smokers.
  • Those with a history of asthma.


Treatment or Prevention

Prevent:

You can prevent COPD by not inhaling tobacco smoke or workplace air pollutants. Early detection of COPD might change its course and progress. A simple test, called spirometry can be used to measure pulmonary and detect COPD in anyone with breathing problems.

Treatment:

Treatment of COPD requires a careful and thorough evaluation by a physician. COPD treatment can alleviate symptoms, decrease the frequency and severity of exacerbation and increase exercise tolerance. For those who smoke, the most important aspect of treatment is to stop smoking. Avoiding tobacco smoke and removing other air pollutants from home or workplace are also important. Symptoms such as coughing or wheezing can be treated with medication. Pulmonary rehabilitation is an individualized treatment program that teaches COPD management strategies to increase quality of life. Plans may include breathing strategies, energy-conserving techniques, and nutritional counseling. The flu can cause serious problems in people with COPD. Vaccination during flu season is recommended and respiratory infections should be treated with antibiotics. Patients who have low blood oxygen levels are often given supplemental oxygen.