Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a group of progressive diseases of the respiratory system, among which emphysema and chronic bronchitis are located. Most people with COPD generally suffer from these two common conditions:
Pulmonary emphysema slowly destroys the air sacs in six people with difficulty expelling air from the lungs. Bronchitis causes inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes, which results in the accumulation of mucus liquid.
The leading cause of COPD is tobacco use. Long-term exposure to stimulants can also cause COPD symptoms. These diseases usually occur over a long period and not suddenly.
COPD is usually diagnosed using imaging, blood, and lung function tests.
There is no definitive treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. However, symptomatic treatments can increase patients’ quality of life by curing the disease’s symptoms and reducing the risk of related complications. The use of drugs, oxygen therapy, and surgery are among the ways to treat this disease.
If no action is taken to treat COPD, this disease’s progression rate may increase, and heart problems and respiratory infections may also appear or become more severe.
Difficulty breathing is one of the symptoms of COPD. COPD symptoms are mild at the beginning of the disease process and usually include intermittent cough and shortness of breath. COPD symptoms may become more severe as the disease progresses, and breathing becomes difficult.
People with COPD may experience shortness of breath, wheezing, and increased secretion of mucus in their respiratory system. Some patients may experience increased respiratory symptoms, and breathing becomes even more difficult than before.
As mentioned, COPD symptoms are mild initially, and this disease may even be mistaken for a cold.
COPD symptoms include the following:
At the beginning of the disease, there may also be changes in people’s performance, such as avoiding stairs and sports activities.
COPD symptoms can become more severe over time and harder to ignore. As lung damage increases, people with this disease may experience:
In more advanced stages, COPD symptoms may include:
COPD symptoms may be more severe with smoking or continuous exposure to smoke from these substances.
Urgent medical attention is required in the following cases:
In developed countries, the leading cause of COPD is smoking. Nearly 90% of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are people who used to smoke or are still smoking.
20-30% of long-term smokers will develop COPD. Many people also suffer from other respiratory disorders or reduced lung function.
Most patients with COPD are at least 40 years old and have a smoking history. The more and longer a person smokes, the higher the risk of developing COPD. In addition to smoking, smoking cigarettes, pipes, or inhaling smoke from tobacco products can also cause COPD.
In the case of asthma, the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease will be even higher in people who use tobacco products.
COPD can also occur if you inhale smoke or chemicals in the workplace. Air pollution and dust inhalation can also be the causes of this disease.
In developing countries, due to the lack of good quality home ventilation, in addition to smoking, inhalation of smoke from fuel consumption for cooking and heating can also be effective in the occurrence of COPD.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can also have a genetic background. Nearly 5% of people with this disease suffer from the lack of a protein called alpha-1-antitrypsin. The lack of this protein causes lung tissue to atrophy as well as damage to the liver. Other genetic disorders may also contribute to this disease. It should be noted that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is not a contagious disease.
It is not possible to diagnose COPD using only a particular test. The diagnosis of this disease is based on the observation of symptoms and clinical examination, along with the results of tests.
When visiting the doctor, the patient must tell him all the COPD symptoms that he has been involved in. Also, the attending physician must be aware of the existence of any of the following conditions:
During the clinical examination, the doctor will use a stethoscope to listen to the sound of the patient’s lungs while breathing, and based on the information obtained, he may also prescribe tests to diagnose the disease better:
Asthma and COPD are similar in many ways, including similar symptoms such as shortness of breath and blocked airflow. However, COPD is chronic and progressive. Allergens often trigger asthma, but the leading cause of COPD is smoking.
Finally, remember that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) causes lung damage you cannot reverse. This disease is usually caused by prolonged exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter, often from cigarette smoke. People with COPD are at increased risk of heart disease, lung cancer, and other conditions. However, you can learn to manage COPD symptoms. You will breathe easier if you support your lung capacity and combat lung irritation. By getting treatment early, you have the best chance of continuing to do the things you love.
Dr. Majid Zohrabi started treating his patients in Dubai in 2022 and continues his activities in private medical centers in the UAE.