Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?

Also known as chronic obstructive lung disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is a type of obstructive lung disease characterized by poor air flow. It generally worsens over time.
Those suffering from chronic bronchitis may also suffer from COPD. The diagnosis of COPD is based on poor airflow as measured by lung function tests. In contrast to asthma, the airflow reduction does not improve significantly with the administration of a bronchodilator.
COPD is treatable. With proper management, most people with COPD can achieve good symptom control and quality of life, as well as reduced risk of other associated conditions.
COPD can be prevented by reducing exposure to known environmental risk factors. This includes decreasing rates of smoking and improving indoor and outdoor air quality

Causes of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease:

The primary cause of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is tobacco smoking, with occupational exposure and pollution from indoor fires being significant causes in some countries (especially developing countries).

Other causes include:

  •     Air pollution
    Indoor air pollution due to poorly ventilated cooking fires or use of biomass fuels
  •     Occupational exposure
    high levels of dust in coal mining
    gold mining
    cotton textile industry,
    occupations involving cadmium and isocyanates
    fumes from welding
  •     Genetics
    alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency
  •     Airway obstruction
    Emphysema
    Chronic bronchitis

Symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease:

Symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease occur after the condition has already worsened.

The following symptoms are exhibited:

  •     Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities
  •     Wheezing
  •     Chest tightness
  •     Excess mucus in lungs
  •     Blueness of the lips or fingernail beds (cyanosis)
  •     Frequent respiratory infections
  •     Lack of energy
  •     Unintended weight loss (in later stages)
  •     Daily cough
  •     Sputum production, that may be clear, white, yellow or greenish

Diagnosis of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease:

The following diagnostic tests are conducted:

  •     Pulmonary function tests.
    Spirometry
  •     Chest X-ray.
    It may show emphysema
    To rule out other lung problems or heart failure.
  •     CT scan.
    to help detect emphysema and help determine
    to screen for lung cancer
  •     Arterial blood gas analysis.

Treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease:

The following treatment options are available:

  •     Smoking cessation
  •     Medications
    Inhalers (bronchodilators) to help open the airways
    Inhaled or oral steroids to reduce lung inflammation
    Anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling in the airways
    Certain long-term antibiotics
  •     Lung therapy
    Oxygen therapy
    Pulmonary rehabilitation program
  •     Surgery
    Lung transplant
    Lung volume reduction therapy

By : Natural Health News