COPD- The full form is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
COPD is defined as a chronic,slowly progressive disease characterised by airflow obstruction that does not markedly change over several months.Most of the lung function impairment is fixed although some versibility can be produced by bronchodilator therapy.COPD is an inflammatory condition that progresses even if the patient has stopped smok.
COPD currently accounts for 6 -7 percent of all UK deaths.However the incidence of COPD is increasing and it is likely to become the third commonest cause of death worldwide.(It is currently fourth by 2020).It is the only of the top 10 world wide causes of death that is increasing.
Causes of COPD
• Smoking(usually a history of at least 20 pack-years)
• Air pollution
• Low birth weight and low socio economic status
• Dust exposure
• Alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency.
COPD is due to a combination of chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Chronic bronchitis is defined as chronic cough and sputum for at least 3 months of two consecutive years in the absence of other diseases recognised to cause sputum production.
Emphysema is characterised by abnormal, permanent enlargement of air spaces, accompanied by destruction of their walls without obvious fibrosis. Emphysema may be centri – acinar(predominantly affecting the upper lobes and associated with smoking),panacinar,paraseptal or predominantly localised around scares.
Signs of COPD
Many patients with COPD will have no abnormal physical signs until the disease is advanced.
• Central cyanosis
• Weight loss
• Pursued lip breathing
• Reduced breath sounds
• Chest X-ray
• Full blood count(FBC)
• Sputum culture
The diagnosis is made by:-
• History of cough with sputum production.wheeze and shortness of breath.
• History of frequent winter bronchitis and delayed recovery from viral infections.
Treatment of COPD
• Smoking cessation
• Lung volume reduction surgery(for patients with severe emphysema)
• Inhaled anticholinergic drugs
• Inhaled steroids
• Long term oxygen therapy
• Pulmonary rehabilitation
Several recent clinical trials have shown no impact of inhaled steroids on disease progression in COPD although they do reduce exacerbations and improve quality of life in those patients with moderate or severe disease who have at least two exacerbations each year. Pulmonary rehabilitation is an important part of disease management.
This plays a key role in the management of respiratory disease-causing breathlessness, particularly COPD.A multidisciplinary team, usually comprising a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, respiratory nurse, dietician and sometimes psychologist is needed. Patients usually participate 2-3 times per week over 6-8 weeks Aerobic exercise including specific upper and lower limb strengthening is followed by educational and relaxation sessions. Pulmonary rehabilitation has been shown to be effective for all patients with COPD regardless of severity.
Treatment of acute exacerbations
Antibiotics are indicated for acute exacerbations if two of the following are present:-
• Increased breathlessness
• Increased sputum volume
• Increased sputum purulence
Regular bronchodilators (nebulized or inhaled) are given in addition to short courses of oral steroids and controlled oxygen therapy.
Home Remedies for COPD
Though exercise may seem difficult,but regular exercise can increase the overall strength of the body and can strengthen the respiratory muscles.
There are a lot of breathing exercises,pranayams one c an do to stay healthy.Also one can ask the doctors to show techniques of breathing when problems arise.
Maintaining distance from polluted areas and smokers.
Apart from quitting smoking, one should also avoid the company of active smokers. Being a passive smoker can cause the same amount of harm in the respiratory tract and lungs.
Also one should refrain oneself from stepping into polluted places where fumes from. cars , buses engulf the area.
Keeping the respiratory passage clean
As in COPD mucus gets accumulated in the throat, in the nasal passage, restricted coughing and drinking warm water can give relief.
Use of nebulizers
In extreme cases nowadays instead of rushing into the hospital, one can use the nebulizer machine which clears the mucus from the air passage and can give relief to the patient.
Appointment with doctor
One should never miss an appointment with the doctor and should be regular at it. Even one feels better, ailment free but visiting the doctor timely is very essential.
So if these remedies could be followed one can live healthily and happily.