Diseases of the lungs often bring a lot of discomfort as they generally tend to hamper your breathing, leaving you very scared too. While there are several ailments of the lungs, one of them is called Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
COPD is a chronic lung disease that is progressive in nature. It usually includes problems like emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Patients experience the restricting of air flow in and out of the lungs. The construction ends up making breathing very difficult in the person.
Common causes of COPD include smoking, plenty of exposure to air pollutants for a long time, as well as it could be a genetic disorder, although that is still rare. COPD is known to affect people’s lives severely. COPD is no single condition as many would like to believe, but includes several types of lung problems and diseases. Doctors have characterised the problem into four different stages.
Stages of COPD
COPD essentially consists of four stages. Ranging from being mild to a severe condition, there are no specific set of people who are prone more to the problem. Doctors have categorised COPD in four different stages basis of the symptoms and results from lung tests conducted on each of the patients coming in with the problems.
Mild COPD (1) –
This is the first categorised stage of COPD. In this, the patients do not realise they have the problem. The symptoms begin to develop slowly and steadily, for instance, they start feeling slight limitations in their breathing activities, although can perform their usual daily operations and routine usually. Cough and phlegm are other symptoms of mild COPD.
Moderate COPD (2) –
This is the second stage of COPD. During this stage, patients experience heavy coughing as well as mucus production. The breathing is also affected moderately enough for patients to seek medical care to cure the imitations as well as some increased symptoms.
Doctors tend to recommend or prescribe bronchodilators, that help in better breathing. There could also be the case that pulmonary rehabilitation is supported, which helps people with lung diseases to breath and function in a much better way.
Severe COPD (3)
The third stage, known as severe COPD is self-explanatory regarding its effects. This stage tends to have a significant impact on the quality of life. There is also a visible decline in lung function, as well as bringing about a substantial reduction in enjoying some typical daily activities. There is also a chance that people feel more fatigued and have difficulty in exercising.
The usual medications prescribed by doctors include the likes of corticosteroids that help reduce inflammation as well as doctors tend to combine the use of inhalers or any other kind of drugs or therapies that might help in bringing about relief in the patient’s breathing.
End Stage COPD (4)
The end-stage is also known as a very severe stage, and thus as the name indicates, it is incredibly profound in its type as well as being life-threatening. This stage is known to affect the quality of life adversely, and doctors might keep the patient under constant treatment options.
In this stage, patients find it extremely difficult to receive enough oxygen, thus face significant difficulties in breathing. There is also the case of low blood oxygen levels in patients, which in turn leads to more severe health issues like hypoxia, cyanosis and many other potentially dangerous problems. Following the above point, doctors may also prescribe an oxygen therapy, to help the body receive more or somewhat adequate amounts of oxygen.
COPD could affect the person in many forms and is not a single condition. On the other hand, the states might not show up right on the first day itself. COPD is a progressive condition, and as it develops further, it is bound to deteriorate not just the health condition of the person but also their quality of life.
Hence at the sign of slight feeling that there might be a problem, consult a doctor to understand what might be an underlying problem. Timely treatments are necessary; otherwise, there will be a significant downgrading of life and its quality.
[ Also Read : Tips to Avoid Lung Diseases ]
About the Doctor:
Dr Laxma Babu is our Consultant Pulmonologist, Interventions & Sleep Medicine. With his training in rigid Bronchoscopy from Aix Marseille Universite, France and specialization in Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS), cryo technique from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi, there’s no doubt in the fact that he is one of the most sought-after pulmonologists in the city. To add to that, he also has training in sleep medicine from the International Institute of Sleep Sciences, Mumbai. He also has been trained in Flexi-rigid & Rigid Thoracoscopy. He takes a special interest in interventional pulmonology, pleural diseases and asthma.
About the Hospital:
A Multi Super Speciality Institution, 500 bedded Sunshine Hospitals (Paradise Circle, Secunderabad) is promoted by globally reputed Joint Replacement Surgeon Dr. AV Gurava Reddy (Orthopedic Doctor) and like-minded associates who share the objective of making world-standard healthcare available, affordable and accessible to the common man. Sunshine has now become one of the best hospitals for many treatments including Orthopedic, Gastroenterology, Cardiology, Trauma and Neurology.