Life is impossible without breath. The way a person’s lungs seamlessly take in air and process it is actually kind of incredible when you think about it.
Air helps make life possible. Most people recognize the importance of their lungs and work to treat them as well as possible.
When someone suffers a disease that affects their lungs and breathing, it’s interfering with their life! There are many conditions which damage breathing and many of them are known as COPD. People suffering from COPD find it difficult to breathe. Their lungs have been damaged and suddenly, what’s easy for everyone else is now difficult for them. COPD can have some serious long term consequences. The first thing that people should do with COPD is become familiar with it. People often say that “knowledge is power” after all. In this case, it’s very true.
What is COPD?
When people refer to COPD, they actually are referring to multiple diseases and conditions, rather than a single one. These include asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The common issue between all of these conditions is that they cause people trouble with breathing and a severe shortness of breath.
The issues with COPD are serious. In addition to the problems they cause on their own, they also increase the risk of other serious diseases like lung cancer and heart disease. COPD is often somewhat preventable. It is mainly caused by irritants in the lungs. This comes most commonly from various types of smoke or chemicals in dust. The most common is cigarette smoke.
Symptoms of COPD
As mentioned above, COPD causes people trouble with breathing. However, there are also other symptoms that people may experience which can help determine that it is indeed COPD and not something else that’s plaguing them. These symptoms are:
- Shortness of Breath - This is the main symptom and has been discussed.
- Wheezing Breath - Even those who don’t find their breath as short may find that their breathing is making wheezing sounds that sound very labored.
- Repetitive Infections - People with COPD will find that they continue to have respiratory infections for quite a while.
- Swelling - People with COPD will find that their legs, ankles and feet may swell up more than expected.
- Loss of Energy - COPD will often cause people to feel sluggish and without energy. This can lead to other physical issues as well.
- Excess Mucus - Typically, mucus may build up quite heavily overnight. When the person wakes up in the morning, they will have to work very hard to clear their throat of all the mucus.
- Chronic Coughing - This cough tends to be a productive cough which will expel mucus.
Treatments for COPD
Unfortunately, there is no cure for COPD at this time. However, there is some good new for people who fear that they may suffer from COPD. COPD is preventable for most people. The easiest way for people to not suffer from COPD is to avoid smoking. Smoking is easily the first cause of COPD and by avoiding smoking or second hand smoke, chances of getting it go down heavily. People who work with chemicals and potentially can breathe in their fumes need to ensure they are always taking care of themselves by following proper safety protocols.
When actually treating COPD, smoking needs to stop immediately. From there, some medications may be used depending on the symptoms of the individual. They may be taken in tablet form or through inhalers. Speaking with your doctor is the only way to ensure that the right treatment and medications are chosen.