Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) - Medx Health Assistance
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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a group of chronic inflammatory progressive lung diseases that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. The most common conditions of COPD diseases are Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis. These two conditions commonly occur together and can vary in severity among individuals with COPD.
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Overview

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a group of chronic inflammatory progressive lung diseases that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.
  • The most common conditions of COPD diseases are Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis. These two conditions commonly occur together and can vary in severity among individuals with COPD.
  • Emphysema is a condition in which the Alveoli present at the end of the smallest air passages (Bronchioles) of the lungs are infected due to damaging exposure to cigarette smoke and other irritating gases and particulate matter. It slowly destroys Air Sacs in the Lungs, which interferes with outward airflow. 
  • Chronic Bronchitis causes inflammation and narrowing of the Bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from the lungs’ air sacs (Alveoli). Chronic Bronchitis is characterized by mucus (Sputum) production and daily cough.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) symptoms include cough, breathing difficulty, wheezing, and mucus (sputum) production. 
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is typically caused by long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter.
  • Untreated, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) can lead to a faster disease progression, like heart problems and worsening respiratory infections.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive disease that worsens over time, but it is treatable. 
  • With suitable treatment and management, most people with COPD can achieve reasonable symptom control and quality of life and reduce the risk of other associated conditions.

Causes of COPD may include:

  • Smoking is the leading reason for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The more a person smokes, the more probably that person will develop COPD. But few people smoke for years and never observe COPD.
  • In rare cases, non-smokers who lack a protein called alpha-1 Antitrypsin can develop Emphysema.
  • Occupational exposure to specks of dust, fumes, or chemicals can be a reason for COPD.
  • Indoor Air Pollution- Biomass fuel (wood, animal dung, crop residue) or coal is frequently used for cooking and heating, with a high level of smoke exposure can cause COPD.
  • Early life events such as poor growth in Utero, Prematurity, and frequent or severe respiratory infections in childhood that prevent maximum lung growth can cause COPD.
  • Asthma in childhood can be a reason for COPD.

Symptoms

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) causes very severe breathing difficulty.

Symptoms of COPD may be mild at first, beginning with intermittent coughing and shortness of breath. As the disease progresses, symptoms can become more constant to become increasingly difficult to breathe.

A patient may experience wheezing and tightness in the chest or have excess sputum production.

Some people with COPD can experience acute exacerbations, which are flare-ups of severe symptoms.

Early Symptoms of COPD may include:

  • Occasional shortness of breath, especially after exercise
  • Mild but recurrent cough
  • Requiring to clear the throat often, especially first thing in the morning

A patient might start making subtle changes, such as avoiding stairs and skipping physical activities.

Worsening Symptoms of COPD may include:

  • Wheezing, a type of higher-pitched noisy breathing, especially during exhalations
  • Shortness of breath, after performing even mild forms of exercise like walking up a flight of stairs.
  • Chest tightness
  • The requirement to clear mucus from the lungs every day
  • Chronic cough, with or without mucus
  • Frequent colds, flu, or other respiratory infections
  • Lack of energy

In succeeding stages of COPD, symptoms may also include:

  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of the ankles, feet, or legs
  • Frequent weight loss

Symptoms of COPD are likely to worsen if the patient currently smokes or are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke.

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