Oh My God, I’ve Been Diagnosed with COPD!!!
Many people are.
What is COPD?
CHRONIC – LONG STANDING
OBSTRUCTIVE – BLOCKAGE
PULMONARY – IN LUNGS
DISEASE – ILLNESS
COPD is the overall term used for long standing irreversible blockage in lungs which makes breathing difficult. COPD causes inflammation in the airways of the lung which make breathing difficulty. Diagram below shows both the normal airway(top) and the inflamed airway(below).
Up to 30% of the lung function is lost by the time the disease is diagnosed and medical attention is seeked. Majority of patients are in age group of 40 years and above.
In spite of irreversible damage done to the lungs proper treatment can help in reduction of symptoms and complication, also improve the quality of life.
You have lot of questions going through your mind such as;
.Can it be cured?
It’s preventable and treatable and although it can’t be cured you CANlearn to manage it better and slow the progression
.How come I’m the “only” one?
–You are not.
A survey has been done that America has approx. 40 million COPD patients, India itself has approximately 24 million people have COPD, Canadian Lungs Association puts the no. of people with COPD at 1.5 million in Canada, with another 1.6 million individuals who may have it but have not been diagnosed.
.But they’ve put me on oxygen.
You always have been on “oxygen”.
However, you do need to find the best way to carry the “extra”. There’s no reason to stop doing the things you enjoy like going to work, walk, gardening, and even air travel.
Your life is far from over!!!
Tell me more!
-If you smoke, QUIT.
–Regular Medication is very important under Physician guidance.
–Take your medication regularly; even when you’re feeling well.
–Breathing Exercise. Pursed lip Breathing exercise ,Diaphragmatic or Belly breathing And Aolom Whilom, Pranayama are very important
–Physical Exercise. Walking is best, most effective and Cheap.
–Eat balanced diet. You NEEDproper nutrition for this disease.
-Get adequate rest and try to avoid stress.
–Overweight? Work at loosing it.
Underweight? Work at gaining it.
-Avoid people with colds and cough . A MUST
-Keep your hands clean, wash with soap and water. Use sanitizers.
-Finding it harder to breathe after a big meal? Try eating slower and/or eat smaller meals, more frequent meals throughout the day.
-Join a support group, ask your doctor about it.
– Learn to recognize flare ups/worsening of your symptoms. DON’T wait ,contact your Doctor.
What are the Causes?
1) Smoking – Both active and passive.
2) Exposure – To dusts and chemicals.
3) Genetics Susceptibility – Certain smokers are more prone to the disease.
What are the Symptoms?
Initially, COPD is often tough to detect in its beginning stage. Signs are ignored until there is significant lung damage. The treatment focuses on controlling symptoms and prevents further damage. COPD symptoms may include:
1) Long standing cough.
2) Production of phlegm.
3) Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities.
5) Chest tightness.
6) Frequent chest infections.
Which Tests can help Diagnosis?
*To detect Hyper Inflation in Lungs. (Emphysema)
*To rule out other pathology such as Cancer, Tuberculosis, Pneumonia etc.
*To diagnose and grade the severity of the disease.
*To monitor the progress of the disease.
*It is a blood test to measure levels of Oxygen and Carbon dioxide gases in the body.
What are the Complications?
Depression – Because of restricted activity and confinement to limited area.
Repeated Chest Infections – Relatively more difficult to treat. Each episode leads to further reduction in lung function.
Respiratory failure – It manifests as rapid and short breathing, bluish colorations of nail and lips, lethargy, confusion. In severe cases, there can be loss of consciousness also.
Heart failure – Chronic respiratory failure leads to enlargement of right side of the heart and its failure.
Is there a Treatment?
COPD treatment can control symptoms reduce the risk of complications.
1) Bronchodilators – Medication relaxes the muscles of the airways.
2) Inhaler Steroids – Reduces the inflammation in the airways.
3) Antibiotics – In case of secondary treatment.
4) Mucolytic – Medicines used to break the mucus and the phlegm and makes phlegm come out easily.
5) Oxygen Therapy – To bring up the Oxygen Level again.
6) BIPAP (Non-Invasive Positive Pressure Ventilation) – To unload the Respiratory Muscles and take the Carbon dioxide out from the blood.
7) Surgery – Options offered to the Patients with severe Emphysema which is not being managed sufficiently by medications alone.
*Lung Volume Reduction Surgery – It creates more space in your chest cavity which lets the remaining tissues and diaphragm work more efficiently.
*Lung Transplant – It is an option for only a limited number of patients with not very successful results due to prolonged waiting for donated organs and high risk complications post operations.
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