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Understanding COPD

By |2019-03-05T22:41:34+00:00July 5th, 2019|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: |

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, more commonly known by its acronym COPD is used to describe as an all progressive lung disease similar to asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. One of the common symptoms of this disease is that the patient often feels breathlessness.

Since this is a progressive disease, there are no known forms of complete cure. However, with medicine and a healthy lifestyle, COPD can be managed to make the patient feel better and breathe easily.

Symptoms of COPD

While shortness of breath and coughing can be signs of aging, it can also be signs of COPD. If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or your family members, it is time to speak to your healthcare professional

  • Shortness of breath
  • Frequent coughing without mucus
  • Wheezing
  • Breathlessness
  • Tightening of your chest

How to Diagnose COPD?

COPD cannot be diagnosed by a single test. It needs a complete physical examination, along with answers on your lifestyle and family history in certain cases. A physician generally uses spirometry to assess lung function.

Additionally, invasive tests like arterial blood gas test, which measures the oxygen and carbon dioxide content in your blood is also a way to determine if your lungs are functioning properly.

Treatment

Once you are diagnosed with COPD, the next step is treating your condition. Based on the symptoms and the diagnosis, your doctor can provide various forms of treatment. The most common ones are given below.

Medicine

Medications and dilators help relax your airway muscles, making it easier for you to breathe. You can take it through a nebulizer or an inhaler. In order to lower risk of any type of infections while taking in these medicines, you can take a flu shot along with a tetanus shot to prevent whooping cough.

Oxygen

Under dire conditions, a patient can be administered oxygen through a cannula or a mask. Portable oxygen cylinders can also be used in case the patient needs to be moved from one place to another. This method is administered only when the oxygen level of blood is too low.

Surgery

This is the last measure against COPD and is undertaken when other methods have failed. However, not all forms of COPD can be cured or alleviated with surgery. When you have severe emphysema, bullectomy can be conducted. In this procedure, your surgeons would remove abnormal air spaces from your lungs.

Lifestyle Changes

If you are looking forward to alleviating your breathing problems, you should also undertake some lifestyle changes. Common steps include

  • Regular sleep cycle
  • No smoking or alcohol
  • Avoiding exposure to smoke and fumes
  • Balanced diet

Try drinking plenty of fluids all around the year and limited caffeine intake when you are looking for progressive changes.

Final Thoughts

When you are suffering from COPD, try to relax as much as possible to prevent exerting your lungs. Sometimes patients who have lung cancer also experience COPD, however, the opposite is not always true. At the end of the day, if you maintain a healthy lifestyle, you can always see progress despite your health conditions.

An Overview of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

By |2019-03-05T22:24:17+00:00April 21st, 2019|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: |

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COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe due to lung damage, inflammation, or overproduction of mucus. 16 million people are currently diagnosed with COPD, and it is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. While there is no cure, making lifestyle changes and receiving treatments can help slow the progress of the disease, and provide some comfort to those suffering from COPD.

 

What Causes COPD?

When you breathe in, oxygen flows through the airways in your lungs into delicate, stretchy air sacs called alveoli. The oxygen is then transferred into blood vessels around the alveoli and sent to vital organs around the body.

Lungs that have been damaged by COPD can develop two conditions that make breathing more difficult. Chronic bronchitis causes the airways to become inflamed and clogged with mucus. With emphysema, the delicate air sacs lose their stretchiness and rupture, forming larger air sacs that are unable to hold as much oxygen.

In the United States, smoking is the main cause of COPD. Long term exposure to lung irritants like air pollution, chemical fumes, and secondhand smoke, is also a risk factor. A genetic condition called alpha-1 antitypsin deficiency might cause COPD, but that is very rare.

 

Common Symptoms of COPD

COPD is most commonly diagnosed in middle-aged adults. Most of the symptoms are similar to other respiratory conditions, which can make them harder to diagnose.

Common symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness of the chest
  • An ongoing dry or wet cough
  • Wheezing or whistling when you breathe

These symptoms will worsen as the lungs become more damaged. Severe symptoms that may require treatment at a hospital include losing weight and muscle endurance, not being able to catch your breath or even talk, a very rapid heartbeat, or your lips or fingertips turning blue or gray.

 

Treating and Care for COPD

The best way to prevent or slow the symptoms of COPD is to avoid lung irritants. Air pollution and chemical fumes should be avoided whenever possible. If you are a smoker and have been diagnosed with COPD, quit smoking immediately. If you find it hard to quit on your own, consider joining a support group. Your doctor can provide products and point you to programs that can make quitting easier.

COPD isn’t contagious and there is no cure. But there are ways to manage your symptoms so you can live better. First, talk with your doctor about what treatment is right for you, how to prepare for emergencies, and which diseases you could have an increased risk for.

Develop an emotional support team. Let your friends or family know how you feel. You could even join a support group to see how other people cope with living with COPD. Find simpler ways to do daily tasks, and ask for help to make things in your house more accessible. Make sure to follow a meal plan that will get you the right amount of nutrients every day. By sticking to your treatment and making these lifestyle changes, you can stay more active and feel better.

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