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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.