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COPD – Know the Common Triggers

COPD – Know the Common Triggers Causing the Disease

COPD is a common respiratory problem. For some reasons, infliction of this respiratory disease has become a common incident these days and women are found more vulnerable than men in general. Sometimes the indications of this disease are asymptomatic; however sometimes the problem of COPD gets arrested not long since its induction. Early detection of this disease is possible once you know the risk factors and other allied reasons causing this health disorder.

Copd  

Causes of COPD – the major risk factors

COPD is medically termed as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is mostly a kind of lifestyle disease; rather we can say some unhygienic lifestyle issues may cause COPD. Certain personal habits or impact of environment may increase the chance of infliction of COPD.

  • Chain tobacco smokers are found in high risk category of COPD,
  • Those who suffer from the adverse effect of passive smoking often can get COPD,
  • Frequent exposure to coal and wood smoke may also cause COPD,
  • Patients with chronic problem of hyper sensitivity of respiratory track often become the victims of COPD disease.

Withdrawal from these unhygienic conditions as well as strict avoidance of the risk factors can be a fair solution for reducing the risk of developing COPD.

Other than these lifestyle factors, people with deficiency of alpha-1 antitrypsin are found vulnerable to this respiratory disease.  Due to this deficiency, the elasticity of lung tissues is badly affected and contributes to COPD.

Causes of COPD – Other allied health reasons

There are some other health disorders which may initiate the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in a patient. According to extensive study and research on the COPD causes, it has been detected that at least there are three non-generic health disorders that may increase the chance of developing COPD in an individual.

Any type of infectious lung disease that is not properly treated and is prolonged may induce the symptoms of COPD in a patient.

Emphysema is one of the allied diseases under the COPD umbrella. Due to this disease the alveoli (air sacs in the lungs) present at the end of the terminal bronchioles of the lungs, get abnormally enlarged and the walls between them can break and large holes or empty spaces can form in the lungs (bullae), greatly impairing breathing.

Chronic bronchitis is often called as chronic cough and individuals suffering from this chronic cough for more than two consecutive years may get diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Those who have low level AAT protein may suffer from lung damage that is caused by other types of proteins called enzymes, which need to be balanced by the AAT protein. When these people with AAT deficiency protein get exposed to lung irritants or smoke frequently, they become more vulnerable to develop COPD.

These are the common causes of COPD, and sincere effort to eliminate these causes and promoting a healthy lifestyle may help to prevent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Natural treatments such salt therapy can also prevent COPD by providing a good hygiene over the whole respiratory system and improve breathing.

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Understanding and Treating COPD

Understanding and Treating COPD

COPD stands for "chronic obstructive pulmonary disease" and if you have it you need to know that it cannot be cured,  but it can be managed and pretty well controlled. Having COPD should not keep you from having an enjoyable life.

COPD  symptoms include many debilitating symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough and poor lung function. Under its umbrella the term COPD includes other chronic respiratory diseases: emphysema and chronic bronchitis. In chronic bronchitis the lining of the breathing tubes become inflamed and lots of mucus is being produced and coughed up. With emphysema, the walls of the air sacs in the lungs are broken down and more air is trapped inside. Many people have both, chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

As we age, our lung function slowly declines each year, but for some people there is a rapid decline and this is happening especially in people who smoke cigarettes. Smoking is not the only important factor in COPD. Exposure to irritants and fumes, increased air pollution or dusty environment can also play an important role in developing COPD. Some people may also inherit a genetic predisposition in developing COPD.

How is COPD diagnosed

Early diagnosis and treatment makes a difference in managing COPD. At the beginning the only sign can be a dry cough or a mild breathing difficulty, that usually people attribute them to aging or being out of shape. Breathing difficulty is not a normal sign of aging and people should consult their doctor. As a result of ignoring symptoms, people with COPD are not being diagnosed until the disease is advanced. Early symptoms of COPD can be:

wheezing when exhale

shortness of breath or air hunger or heaviness while breathing

increased sputum or phlegm that is usually coughed up

persistent cough

– felling tired, fatigued or lacking energy

– trouble sleeping, restlessness or not rested in the morning

– needing for more pillows or sleeping in a chair to avoid shortness of breath

– swelling of the ankles due to low blood oxygenation

The goals in COPD treatment are:

  • relieving symptoms

  • slowing the progress of the disease

  • preventing and treating complications

  • and improving well-being

These will include some lifestyle changes. First step is to quit smoking and avoid lung irritants, second-hand smoke, fumes or toxic substances. Quitting smoking can be difficult, so you may consider joining a group, ask your family and friends to support you in your effort to quit.

You may have trouble eating enough due to the breathing difficulty and fatigue. You may need to follow a nutrition plan to get all the nutrients that you need. You may need to eat smaller and more frequent meals, rest before eating and supplement with vitamins and minerals.

You may find it hard to have physical activity but this can strengthen the muscles that help breathing and improve wellbeing.

Take care of the air you breathe! You can use air filters to filter the air for dust and other pollutants. Use a humidifier or dehumidifier, depending what is needed to keep normal level of humidity in the indoor air.   

Consider using home salt therapy that will help in cleaning your respiratory system and expel the sputum, reduce inflammation and help you breathe easier. The salt particles also help in cleaning the indoor air you breathe.

The usual medication in COPD includes:

  • Bronchodilators – help to relax the smooth muscles around airways and helps you to breathe easier. Depending on the severity of your COPD, this medication can be short-acting or long-acting. The short-acting bronchodilators are prescribed in mild COPD and use it only when symptoms occur.

  • Glucocorticosteroids (steroids) – help to reduce the inflammation in the respiratory system; usually they are prescribed together with a bronchodilator for a trial period of few months to check if the addition of steroid helps to relieve breathing problems.

In severe COPD, with low level of oxygen in the blood, oxygen therapy can help restore the oxygen level and improve over all condition.   

People with COPD are at higher risk for pneumonia and your doctor may suggest a pneumococcal vaccine. Home salt therapy is of great help here because the salt particles help in cleaning the mucus and have anti-bacterial properties; stagnant mucus or sputum / phlegm increase the risk in developing bacterial infection.

Pulmonary rehabilitation or rehab is program that helps you improve breathing and wellbeing, through physical and breathing exercises, disease management training and nutritional and psychological counselling. The program involves nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, physical therapists and dietitians.