Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

The term used for chronic lung conditions that obstructs airways in your lungs is known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). It usually refers to damage and obstruction caused by asthmatic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Blockage within the tubes and air sacs that make up your lungs, which hinders the ability to exhale, is a common symptom of all forms of COPD.

It is a major cause of illness throughout the world and the fourth vital cause of death in US. It is caused by long-term smoking and once the symptoms appear, the damage done cannot be reversed. The only prevention is to quit smoking. Controlling symptoms and preventing further damage are the primary treatments for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Until and unless there is any significant lung damage, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease lies dormant, but once the symptoms begin they worsen over time. The signs of COPD are:
Shortness of breath during physical activities
Increased mucus production and
Frequent cough

A rare genetic disorder known as alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, which results from low levels of protein is also a cause for COPD.

The Medical Tests recommended to track the symptoms of COPD are:

Spirometry the most common lung function test
Chest x-ray
Arterial blood gas analysis
Sputum examination
Computerized Tomography or CT Scan

The three basic groups of medications used by doctors to treat symptoms of COPD are:

Bronchodilators, which usually comes as inhalers to relieve coughing and shortness of breath.
Inhaled cortico steroid medications help better breathing and reduce airway inflammation.
Antibiotics which help fighting bacterial infections

For those, medications alone does not prove sufficient, surgery is an option for them:

Lung volume reduction surgery
Lung transplantation

Doctors also prefer other therapies for people with severe or moderate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, like:

Oxygen Therapy to deliver oxygen into the lungs
Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, which include education, exercise training, nutrition advice and counseling.

Even during treatment the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may worsen due to infections or air pollution. To manage exacerbations, you need prompt medication, oxygen supplementation or hospitalization.

The most essential treatments for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are to quit smoking, take up daily exercise, proper medications and to lead an active and healthy life.

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