Did something beautiful manage to take your breath away? Well, it might not have been the beauty, it might have been a lung disorder that could have taken your breath away!
If you feel breathless persistently, accompanied with coughing, discomfort in chest or general weakness, this may be a matter of concern. If your breathlessness is hampering your day-to-day activities, you need to pay attention the situation. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I smoke?
- Is the air I breathe in polluted?
- Do I work in a ‘dusty’ environment?
- Has anyone in my family gone through the same condition?
If one or a few of the responses were ‘yes’, you may have COPD.
What is COPD?
COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is an inclusive term for a number of lung diseases. Lungs have tiny air sacs which fill with air when we breathe in, and these sacs squeeze out air while breathing out. Various ‘irritants’ from air may damage the stretchy fibres in the lungs. This causes the lungs to take in less air and retain a portion of while breathing out. Overall, we inhale less air and hence, we experience breathing problems.
What are the types of COPD?
To be precise, COPD is a combination of two major lung problems:
Chronic bronchitis: The tubes which carry air to the lungs can become inflated and produce a lot of mucus. This obstructs the free flow of air causing breathing issues. This is called chronic bronchitis.
Emphysema: Air sacs expand and contract as we breathe. Irritants may destroy their elasticity which results in reduced air flow. This situation is called emphysema.
COPD – Prevention and Treatment
Damages caused to the lungs due to COPD are irreversible. So, the best way to cope with COPD is to prevent it. Here are a few tips to prevent COPD.
- Quit smoking. Take professional help if required. This is big step towards preventing COPD
- Do not take up smoking. Keep away from smoking areas to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke.
- If you are exposed to air pollution (mild or excessive) including exhausts of vehicles, industrial gases, chemical decay or any other kind, use a mask as often as you can.
- Invest in an air purifier for indoors
- If you have the change of genetically inheriting weak lungs, see a doctor and get help to reduce the chances of getting a COPD.
If you already are suffering from COPD, you can be treated to end the progress of the damage. You may also find aids to reduce the discomfort.
- You may be prescribed some long-term antibiotics so that the situation does not get worse.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs will help your swellings to subside.
- You may use inhalers to assist you in breathing.
- Oxygen therapy allows you to restore oxygen balance in the body.
- Dietary changes may help your lungs get healthy.
COPD is not something that can be neglected. It concerns breathing. Breathing issues become fatal fast when left untreated. This is why we should be well aware of what preventive measures we can take to avoid getting COPD and take immediate actions to start treatment if we are diagnosed with COPD.