Mature man seated on a sofa coughing at home

Understanding COPD

One of the first things you should know is what COPD stands for. COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a lung disease that makes breathing a difficult affair. The disease progresses over time with lung damage where you are at an increased risk if you are a smoker and COPD treatment often involves oxygen therapy. It’s often a mix of two diseases, COPD will show symptoms and signs of Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema.

Chronic Bronchitis is when the bronchial tubes, which are the airways that carry air into the lungs, get inflamed and start producing excess mucus thus leading the airways to either narrow or get blocked. This obstructive symptom will make breathing a difficult task.

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Emphysema on the other hand involves damaged air sacs. A healthy person’s air sacs act like balloons inflating and deflating as you breathe in and breathe out. However, with a person suffering from Emphysema, the air sacs are damaged and their stretch is diminished that not much air is inspired and expired out of the lungs, making you short of breath.

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The cause of COPD is mostly always caused by smoking, with tobacco smoke being the culprit irritating the airways as well as deteriorating the elasticity of your air sac causing your lungs to weaken. But, over time, other irritants can also increase your risks of your COPD worsening with dust, air pollution, chemical fumes and even second-hand smoke.

It takes many years for the lungs to be so damaged that COPD symptoms start to show, that is why COPD is most common among patients over 60 years of age. It’s also said that you are likely to get COPD if you have had many lung infections as a child as well as for those who are in their 30s-40 and have Emphysema, it’s probably a rare genetic disorder known as alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.

COPD symptoms include a chronic cough, mucus while coughing and shortness of breath that gets worse during exercise.

Diagnosing COPD includes undergoing some tests which includes a medical history (including whether having led a lifestyle inclusive of smoking or being exposed to irritants), a physical examination, listening to your lungs, breathing tests such as Spirometry, as well as chest x-rays to rule out possibilities of other diseases. Once COPD has been diagnosed it should be noted that you can’t revert the damage caused to your lungs but only manage the symptoms or to lessen the risks of it worsening over time.

Treatment for COPD includes a series of options starting with quitting smoking. Make sure to take all measures of smoking cessation as it can aid in stopping further damage to your lungs. Apart from that, your doctor may prescribe treatment to help manage the symptoms as well as to lead a normal life. These include medicine to help with breathing including using an inhaler, which needs to be used correctly, signing up for a pulmonary rehabilitation programme that includes counselling, exercises and eating healthy, and not to mention oxygen therapy.

Oxygen therapy can be an important part of the COPD treatment plan based on various activities you may partake in – rest, exercise, and sleep. The supply of this oxygen is based on the doctor’s prescription based on the number of hours you should receive it against the type of activity and not to mention the oxygen flow system too. Receiving oxygen therapy not only can reduce the strain your heart feels when oxygen levels are depleting but it can also help with shortness of breath, offer you a more active lifestyle and improve how you feel. There are many options of oxygen concentrators for use indoors and on the go. Speak to Oxygen Solutions and find the best oxygen therapy solution for your COPD treatment plan.

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