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COPD

 

One in 7 adults have COPD!

The term COPD has been used in recent years as an umbrella term for all long term restricted airways disease or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
It includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis and recalcitrant asthma. In fact 1 in 7 of all adults over 40 have COPD.
COPD is a major cause of death after heart disease, stroke and cancer. COPD is preventable and treatable and is a major cause of avoidable hospital admissions. It is not a Disease that can be caught but a predisposition may be inherited.

 

COPD is mainly caused by smoking and lung damage, it can be caused by high levels of air pollution and secondary smoking damage, and can be linked to inappropriate treatment of asthma.
The main symptoms of COPD include:

  • Shortness of breath after even moderate exercise that require effort.
  • Coughing is common
  • A build up of thick sticky phlegm in the lungs and you are very prone to lung infections.

A Physician must be consulted for advice. The lung function can be tested with a spirometer and it can distinguish COPD from asthma. Often people dismiss COPD as asthma, they both involve lung function. Asthma is due to an allergic inflammatory process, but COPD is a different form of inflammation due to infection and lung damage.

Treatment involves:

  • The first treatment for COPD, if you have not already done so, is to give up smoking. Quiting to smoke can be difficult, but the effects of COPD are far worse and it is never too late to QUIT. Ph. 13 18 48
  • Seek help from a health professional. Ask how COPD is affecting you? Develop a plan on what to do and when to do it. When symptoms suddenly get worse.
  • Remember there are ways you can do by vaccination and rapid treatment of infection.Improve your general health. Exercise safely and regularly such as walking. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight will put more strain on the heart and increase the oxygen demands on the lungs.
  • With COPD, you are more likely to get lung infections. Protect yourself with vaccination against influenza and Pneumococcal disease. Check out your Doctors plan on when to act.
  • Join a self help group or support group such as the lung foundation for support and information.

COPD is a serious lung disease and is life threatening. Follow the steps mentioned to reduce damage and slow down the progression of the disease.