COPD is a common term used for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is a progressive lung disease, the most common being chronic bronchitis & emphysema.
Bronchitis causes narrowing of the bronchial tubes and causes inflammation whereas emphysema destroys the air sacs of the lungs slowly which creates an obstruction for outward airflow
What are the causes of COPD?
One of the major reasons for COPD is due to tobacco smoking. Research has shown that most people who have COPD are above the age of 40 with a history of tobacco smoking. The longer you smoke, the more you are at risk of getting COPD.
Apart from tobacco smoking, people who smoke cigars and even people who are frequently exposed to secondhand smoking are equally at risk of getting COPD.
Getting exposed to chemical fumes at the workplace or being exposed to fumes from burning fuel used in cooking at homes can also result in the development of COPD
It has also been found that a deficiency of a protein called alpha-1-antitrypsin can also cause COPD development inside the body
What are the symptoms of COPD?
COPD symptoms don’t usually appear until severe damage has been done to the lungs, it worsens over time when you are constantly exposed to smoking.
COPD symptoms include,
- Chest tightness
- Chronic cough that produces a lot of mucus that is clear & white
- Frequent chest infections
- Feeling shortness of breath, particularly when performing any kind of physical activity
- Continuous coughing
How can COPD be diagnosed?
There are no particular tests for COPD. Diagnosis is based on symptoms & medical test results.
Whenever visiting a doctor be sure to mention all your symptoms as well as your smoking habits, workplace & home air conditions.