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Going by the COPD definition – COPD is a lung disease persistently obstructing bronchial airflow, thus interfering with normal breathing and is not fully reversible.
What is COPD?
To effectively deal with COPD, it is necessary to understand ‘what is COPD’. The COPD meaning is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, it is a progressive inflammatory lung disease that causes obstruction in the airflow from the lungs affecting normal breathing.
Chronic Bronchitis – Chronic Bronchitis is the medical condition where the lining of the bronchial tubes, that carry air to and from the alveoli (air sacs of the lungs), gets inflamed. The main symptoms of this type of COPD are daily cough and mucus or sputum production.
Emphysema – Emphysema is the condition where the alveoli located at the end of the smallest air passages of the lungs are damaged due to over exposure to cigarette smoke and other harmful gases and particulate matters.
COPD Signs and Symptoms
COPD can be said to be a sly disease, as there are very mild COPD symptoms (often attributed to some other problems) or no visible COPD signs and symptoms at the beginning of the disease. But, as the disease starts to progress and get worse the symptoms become more visible and severe. Some of the main COPD symptoms are;
-Cough with a lot of mucus or sputum
-Shortness of breath, particularly during a physical activity
-Recurrent respiratory infections
-Swelling in the ankles, feet or legs
Some COPD patients go through tormenting episodes of exacerbations, which is the worsening of symptoms than usual and persists for several days.
Long-term exposure to smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes, and dust and particulate matters cause irritation and damage to the lungs and are mainly attributed to be the root cause of COPD.
Cigarette smoking is also associated with being a major reason behind COPD. However, not all smokers get COPD and only about 20 to 30% of chain smokers have been found to be affected by COPD. Nevertheless smoking does make one susceptible to COPD. People exposed to smoke from burning fuel for cooking and heating in poorly ventilated homes are also affected by COPD.
The different types of test used by doctors for making a COPD diagnosis are lung function tests, imaging tests, and blood tests.
COPD is an incurable progressive disease, although its symptoms can be better managed by varied COPD treatment plans, for the slow progression of the disease, low risk of complications and better quality of life. The varied COPD treatment plans offered for COPD management are medication, oxygen therapy, surgery, or a lung transplant.
The main sort of medications offered to soothe the symptoms of COPD are bronchodilators and glucocorticosteroids. Some doctors even recommend getting yearly flu shot, pneumococcal vaccine, and a tetanus booster to seek protection from whooping cough.
Oxygen therapy is given to those, who have low levels of oxygen levels in the blood. Oxygen is given to such patients with the help of a mask or nasal prongs for normal breathing.
Surgery is only recommended to patients suffering from severe COPD or when other treatments have not proved beneficial in the managing COPD. There are several different surgical procedures – Bullectomy, Lung volume reduction and Lung transplant.
-Bullectomy – It is a surgical procedure where surgeons remove large air sacs (bullae) from the lungs. Lung volume reduction surgery – In this surgery damaged lung tissues are removed.
-Lung transplant – Lung transplant is the partial or complete replacement of diseased lung with a healthy lung from a donor.
Chest physical therapy also referred to aschest physiotherapy is a name assigned to a group of COPD treatment aimed to improve respiratory effectiveness, advance development of the lungs, reinforce respiratory muscles, and getting rid of secretions in the respiratory system. Chest physiotherapy incorporates postural seepage, chest percussion, chest vibration, turning and profound breathing activities and coughing. Chest physiotherapy treatment is typically done in conjunction with different medications and treatments to eliminate secretions from the airways. These different medications incorporate suctioning, nebulizer medicines, and expectorant drugs.
The physical damage caused by the respiratory disease or COPD pathophysiology begins with harming the airways and the air sacs in the lungs and advances from a minor cough with mucus to troubled breathing.
After the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the next crucial step in COPD management is to arrange an effective treatment plan for treating and dealing with the illness and its symptoms. Doctors closely work with patients to design a customized treatment plan specifically suited to their symptoms. This design is prepared as per the COPD treatment guidelines set by specialists after thorough research and study on the treatment of COPD.
Every patient’s COPD treatment plan is different from the other owing to different medical history, varying symptoms and the severity of those symptoms. The treatment plan can involve:
-Vaccines for influenza and pneumonia
-Pulmonary rehabilitation program
Some of the complications that may arise due to COPD are:
-Respiratory infections – COPD makes patients extremely susceptible to cold, flu and pneumonia, which can cause further discomfort in breathing and result in further damage to the lung tissue.
-Heart problems – It has not been fully ascertained as to why COPD increases the risk of heart disease, and heart attack but, COPD patients are more prone to heart diseases than others.
-Lung cancer – COPD patients are also likely to develop lung cancer than other people.
-Pulmonary Hypertension – COPD has also been found to be responsible for causing pulmonary hypertension or high blood pressure in the arteries that bring blood to the lungs.
How can we help?
For patients suffering from COPD, travelling can not only be a huge task but also serve as a potential health risk. For such patients COPD treatment should be brought at home. Portea medical with its team of experienced doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals brings the clinic to your home. The nurses are well trained in giving care and chest physiotherapy to COPD patients across all age groups and also help them learn about ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle according to their condition. Such at – home healthcare is even more needed during the periods of exacerbation, when the symptoms of COPD gets worse, creating a panic situation at home. In such scenarios, don’t panic and give us a call and let our nurses provide care to the patient and calm them down.
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