The chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a collection of progressive lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and refractory asthma. These COPD-based lung diseases cause trouble in breathing and limit the airways. Chronic bronchitis narrows down the bronchial tubes and causes inflammation. Also, it builds up mucus. In emphysema, slowly the air sacs in the lungs get destroyed. Well, until date, no sure cure for this disease is available. However, a proper and timely treatment can help to ease the COPD-based lung disease symptoms along with lowering the complications and improving the overall quality of life.
In the country, almost 24 million people suffer from this chronic disease. The more worrisome fact is that almost half of these people or more simply remain undiagnosed. According to various research and medical studies, smoking is one of the major reasons, causing this fatal disease. However, studies have also reflected the fact that 1 in 4 people, who are suffering from COPD lung disease symptoms, has never been into smoking!
Here is a list of the various symptoms of this disease along with the treatments available to ease them and help the sufferers lead a better life.
Symptoms of COPD Lung Disease
Now, this chronic lung disease has several stages. In the earlier stages, the COPD lung disease symptoms can be a bit mild. There is a high chance of confusing it with a cold. Here are some of the symptoms of COPD at the earlier stages.
- Occasionally, feeling shortness of breath. This can especially be experienced after exercising.
- Feeling the need for clearing throat every now and then.
- Having a mild cough that is recurrent as well.
You might think that making subtle changes such as avoiding stairs or skipping some physical activities can actually help you but these symptoms can not only become progressively worse but also can become very hard to ignore.
The list includes the following COPD lung disease symptoms as well:
- Frequent infections in the respiratory system
- Excessive sputum production
The severe stage of the disease shows the following symptoms:
- Breath shortness while talking
- Rapid heartbeat
- A blue tint on the fingernail beds or lips
- Lack of mental alertness
The complications of this chronic disease are as follows:
- Lung cancer
- Heart problems
- Recurrent infections in respiratory tract like pneumonia
- Weight loss
- High BP or clogging or arteries
Treatment for COPD
As there is no sure cure for this disease available in the market, taking preventive measures to deal with the COPD lung disease symptoms is the best choice for the people diagnosed with it. For a smoker who has been diagnosed with this disease, quitting smoking is essential. Otherwise, the symptoms will keep getting worse. Here is a list of the treatment procedures that will help in dealing with the symptoms along with lowering complications.
- Smoking Cessation
If possible, get nicotine replacement therapy like nicotine patches. Get necessary counseling (group and individual). Some medicines are available but you need to consult the doctor first to undergo any medication
- Oxygen Therapy
If the oxygen level in the blood becomes excessively low, this therapy is needed. In that case, either nasal prongs or mask is used to provide the necessary oxygen in the body. The oxygen therapy using the equipment can be done either at certain times of a day or continuously.
- The oxygen therapy helps certain people diagnosed with COPD to sleep better, prevents major organ damage, helps to perform daily tasks with lesser difficulty, and live longer!
When nothing works, such as any medication or therapy, the last resort to treat the COPD lung disease symptoms is surgery. This vital surgery includes transplant of the lung, surgery for lung volume reduction. In this surgery, the damaged tissues are removed from the lungs so that the functioning improves. In Bullectomy, which is the process of removing bullae surgically, larger air sacs that have a great impact on the breathing process are removed.
Once a patient of COPD goes through lung operation, many nonfatal and fatal complications may arise including scarring and infection. Also, you need to understand that scarring and infection can worsen the COPD lung disease symptoms.
Various medications are available to treat the symptoms of this chronic disease. However, it is always advisable that as soon as you feel any of the symptoms mentioned in the earlier section, immediately get an appointment with a medical expert. If you are diagnosed with this disease at an earlier stage, you can start treatment on time. Following a healthy diet, quitting smoking etc. are some of the lifestyle changes that are effective in dealing with the fatal COPD lung disease symptoms.