COPD Facts – Prevention is Better than Cure
COPD Facts are useful not only for statistical needs, but being informed can also potentially help you avoid contracting this condition and consequently, help prolong your life and your loved ones.
COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and as such, does not refer to a singlular condition. It describes a deterioration of the lungs’ ability to absorb oxygen, principally due to Emphysema and/or Chronic Bronchitis. These are typically characterized by an obstruction in the airflow that makes it hard for the patient to breathe. Usually, these two conditions co-exist thus physicians use the term COPD to generalize it.
Some Well Known COPD Facts
COPD is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Consult any COPD Facts sheet and you’ll learn for example, that COPD claimed about 124,477 American lives in 2007. Fortunately, the more we know about the disease and how it can be contracted, as well as the risk factors connected with it, mean we have a greater chance of preventing it.
Emphysema is commonly characterized by the lungs’ loss of elasticity which makes it difficult to draw in the amount of air that the body needs. Consequently, COPD patients typically become short of breath easily. Emphysema develops over time but the deterioration is faster in patients regularly exposed to cigarette smoke. One of the most important COPD facts you should know is, that exposure to cigarette smoke, whether actively or passively, puts you at high risk for contracting COPD.
Chronic Bronchitis on the other hand is characterized by thick or heavy mucus that inflames the bronchial tubes, eventually scarring it. Excessive irritation triggers the production of regular heavy mucus and this builds up over time. As the irritation worsens together with continual thick and heavy mucus, the bronchial tubes may thicken so that an irritating “death rattle” type of cough is developed. Over time this creates difficulty in breathing. Continual attempts to cough out the mucus may scar the bronchial tubes due to inflammation and this in turn becomes an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, thus worsening the condition.
Coughing up COPD facts:-
A worsening cough is the first symptom of this condition, so if you find yourself experiencing a constant cough that produces shortness of breath and thick sputum, you should check in with a physician.
Aside from smoking, occupational and environmental pollutants that produce chronic coughs are also a risk factor. Dust and chemicals that you may encounter in your work environment or while you commute could subsequently contribute toward the development of COPD. Checking yourself off against these COPD facts will provide you enough information to ascertain whether you are at risk and hopefully, prevent the disease.
You can also potentially contract COPD if your family has a history of COPD diagnosis, a childhood respiratory infection, and being directly exposed to badly ventilated wooden stoves. Even being exposed to biomass smoke can damage your lungs. So even if you aren’t a smoker, if you are positive with any of these risk factors you should get a physician to check your lungs before you get the same symptoms of the two conditions stated above. Also, if any of the symptoms limits your capability to work, exercise, doing household chores, sleeping and other physical activity then you could well suspect that early indications of the condition may present in your body. So, have it diagnosed as soon as you can.