What Is COPD – You’ll Find All Your Answers Here
What is COPD and how is it distinguishable from other lung conditions? Since 2011, COPD is has been officially ranked as the fourth leading cause of death on the planet. This information may surprise you but it is good reason why we should all be informed about what COPD is. Everyone is susceptible to contracting this medical condition so being armed with some knowledge about it for prevention and maintenance, or even potential cure if already acquired, is worthwhile.
What is COPD?
COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a medical condition where lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema which narrows the airways by blocking airflow. People with this lung disease often have difficulty in breathing. It is generally caused by gas or toxic particles from smoking. This then causes an inflammatory reaction in the lungs. Similar to asthma people with this lung disease experience limited airflow, except asthma is not progressive. COPD is a progressive disease which most likely becomes worse after a long period of time and is less likely to be reversible.
COPD is not only known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, it also goes by several different names like CAL (Chronic Airflow Limitation), COAD (Chronic Obstructive Airway Disease), COLD (Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease), and CORD (Chronic Obstructive Respiratory Disease). Others also refer to it as Emphysema, Chronic Bronchitis, Chronic Obstructive Bronchitis, Chronic Airflow Obstruction, Chronic Airways Obstruction, Non-Reversible Obstructive Airways Disease and Alpha-1 antitrypsin.
Statistics of COPD
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is considered as one of the most common lung disease in the world. Based from World Health Organization, more than 64 million people worldwide has acquired COPD around 2004 and about 3 million people have already died because of it in 2005. This count contributed to about 5% of the total deaths per year in the world. In 2010, England alone has about 842,100 out of 50 million people were diagnosed to have COPD. In the United States, COPD is the third leading cause of death on the year 2007. This number may even skyrocket in the future, so being aware what is COPD and its symptoms, causes, diagnosis and treatment can help lessen the numbers.
Symptoms and Causes of COPD
Since COPD is a life threatening medical condition which is not fully reversible, it would not be enough to only know what is COPD but it would be best to distinguish what the symptoms are. To start with, the most common symptom of a person with COPD is abnormal sputum, breathlessness or the need for air upon simple exertion, as well as chronic coughing.
Knowing what is COPD and its causes can surely help anyone determine it before it gets worsen. COPD is most commonly caused by cigarette smoking whether firsthand or secondhand exposure. Other than that, harmful and toxic particles like dusts and chemical fumes, irritants, and vapors can also cause COPD especially if exposed frequently or for a long period of time. Still others, COPD can be caused by exposure to indoor or outdoor pollution or frequent LRTI (Lower Respiratory Tract Infections) during childhood years. Even in the early years of childhood, frequent respiratory infections must be reported to avoid COPD.
Diagnosis and Treatment of COPD
People who are suspected to have COPD undergo a diagnostic test referred to as spirometry. It gauges the amount of air that the suspected person is able to inhale and exhale. Also, it measures the speed that the air moves when going in and out of the lungs. Unlike other lung diseases, COPD is known to develop quite slowly. People 40 years and older are among those who are frequently diagnosed with COPD.
COPD has no current cure, although medical science is offering some new hope using stem cell research. Treatments can be done only to slow down its progress as well as control its symptoms. The treatments also help in increasing the quality of life of people with this lung condition. People with COPD are also advised to stop smoking and avoid people who do as well as areas which are highly polluted so as not to aggravate the condition and slow the damage it does to the lungs.
There are also pulmonary rehabilitations that can be taken so that you can still stay active without having the difficulty of breathing. And as opposed to what others believe, there are certain exercises which can still be engaged too even if you have COPD. These exercises will help strengthen the muscles and the body but it is best to inquire with a therapist or doctor about it before actually exercising. At times, surgery may also be required though only a small number of people actually benefit from it. Surgery is sometimes done to help other parts of the lungs which are not yet diseased by removing some diseased areas. In worst or severe cases, a lung transplant may also be done.
If you would like to further your knowledge about “What is COPD”, feel free to explore the pages below, or you can return to the Contents navigation area above, for articles in more specific areas of the subject.
What is COPD? – Find Out More Below
What Causes COPD
Understanding what causes COPD is the foremost step in combating the malady. There are four common causes of COPD, most of which are from long term exposure to irritations that damage the lungs.
COPD Patient Education
COPD patient education is extremely important for those that are suffering from this pernicious disease and there are many sources of education for patients that suffer from it.