COPD Lung Disease
What is COPD? COPD = Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary
What are the main factors for the emergence and exacerbation of the disease? Active and passive smoking is the leading cause of illness. This can be added in a lesser extent, air pollution, workplace or domestic pollution. But it seems that there is a predisposition to develop this disease not to all people who smoke.
What are the symptoms? And how to prevent it? Smoker patient shows difficulty breathing, cough with expectoration, difficult breathing and fatigue. Prevention consists of smoking cessation, the therapy must be administered correctly if they have specific symptoms of the disease, strict scrutiny to the doctor and a life led by food and hygiene principles as appropriate to patient’s clinical condition.
How can a patient to properly assess the severity of the disease for a medical consultation? The disease occurs slowly, after many years of smoking. The first symptoms (cough with expectoration, difficulty breathing) are not considered by the patient, being attributed to smoking. That’s why often the patient presents to a physician when is in a mild form, then evolves to severe, at this stage symptoms increase in intensity, have “no air”, limiting the patient’s daily activities (professional or physical). If the disease is not treated and the patient continues to smoke, shortness of breath gets worse, there are also phenomena of suffering chronic heart disease and the patient becomes an invalid.
In what consists a physician consult in case of suspicion of COPD? It is very important for the patient to be do a medical check, even for a cough that seems trivial, but that is persistent, more if the cough is accompanied by expectoration, chest swish, and especially if signs of respiratory (shortness of breath). The general doctor will advise the patient to go to a pneumologists, will recommend a lung function test (spirogram), by which it can accurately assess disease severity.
How many degrees of severity of COPD there? There are different severities of COPD based on symptoms presented by the patient and the changes in lung function:
* Mild form that manifests with cough, sometimes accompanied by expectoration, or shortness of breath can occur, for example, fast walking: lung function may be still normal
* Moderate form: cough with mucus or muco-purulent expectoration, to greater efforts when breathing, longer recovery after a “cold”, lung function is changed
* Severe or very severe: persistent cough and expectoration, shortness of breath constantly (day and night), inability to perform physical activity, even easier one (climbing stairs, walking at a faster rate), lung function is severely impaired