What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?
The COPD is not a single disease, but a general term for a number of chronic pulmonary diseases which impede the air flow in the lungs, such as the chronic bronchitis.
What are the main symptoms and signs of COPD?
- Shortness of breath, especially during physical activity.
- Blueness of the lips and fingernails.
- Chronic cough with phlegm.
- Frequent respiratory infections.
- Weight loss.
Risk factors of COPD:
- Smoking is the leading cause of COPD.
- Exposure to the tobacco smoke (second-hand smoking).
- Exposure to indoor pollution (as a result of using solid fuel for the purpose of cooking and heating).
- Exposure to dust and chemicals at place of work (exposure to vapors, irritants and fumes).
- Constant exposure to the various types of the lower respiratory tract infections, during childhood.
- Age: Over 40 people are more prone to the COPD.
- Hereditary factors are influential in some rare cases.
What are the complications of the COPD?
- Respiratory tract infections: The COPD patient is more likely to get frequent colds, flu and pneumonia. Additionally, any respiratory infection can make it much more difficult to breathe and cause damage to the lung tissue.
- High blood pressure (hypertension): COPD may cause high blood pressure in the arteries that bring blood to your lungs (pulmonary hypertension).
- Heart disorders: For unknown reasons, COPD also increases the risk of heart diseases, including heart attack.
- Lung cancer: Smokers with chronic bronchitis are more vulnerable to lung cancer than those without chronic bronchitis.
- Depression: Some patients may get depressed as a result of breathing difficulty and inability to do the normal daily activities.
Protection of Persons at High Risk against COPD:
- Avoiding exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution and irritants.
- Avoiding exposure to fluctuation of weather and dust.
- Eating healthy food like fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and chicken.
- Medical examination of the lung (spirometry), to assess the functionality of the lung for those over 45 years of age.
- Taking the seasonal influenza vaccine for prevention of recurrent respiratory tract inflammations.
- Taking the necessary precautions and abiding by safety instructions in factories and work places.