Common health issue

What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment Methods.

What is COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, commonly mentioned as COPD, is a class of progressive lung diseases. However, the most familiar of these diseases are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Severe people with COPD have both of these situations.

Emphysema slowly demolish air sacs in your lungs, which interferes with outward airflow. Bronchitis creates inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes, which permits mucus to build up. However, it is approximate that about 30 million in the United States have COPD. As severe as half are unaware that they have it.

What are the symptoms of COPD?

COPD builds it difficult to breathe. Symptoms may be mild at first, starting with intermittent coughing and shortness of breath. As it progresses, symptoms can become severe constant to where it can become rising difficult to breathe.

However, if you may feel wheezing and tightness in the chest or have severe sputum production. Some people who have COPD have acute exacerbations, which are flare-ups of more symptoms.

Early symptoms of COPD

At first, symptoms of COPD can be fully mild. Early symptoms may include:-

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

Worsening symptoms

Symptoms can be increasingly worse and harder to ignore. As the lungs become severely damaged, you may feel:-

  • Shortness of breath, after even mild forms of activity like walking up a flight of stairs
  • Weezing, which is a kind of greater-pitched noisy breathing, especially during exhalations
  • Chest tightness
  • Chronic cough, with or without mucus
  • Require to clear mucus from your lungs every day
  • Frequent colds, flu, or other respiratory problems
  • Lack energy

In later stages of COPD, symptoms may also include:-

  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of the feet, ankles, or legs
  • Weight loss

What causes COPD?

Severe people with COPD are at least 40 years old and have at least some history of smoking. However, the longer and severe tobacco products you smoke, the higher your risk of COPD is.

In addition to cigarette, cigar smoke, pipe smoke, and secondhand smoke can create COPD. However, your risk of COPD is even higher if you have asthma and smoke.

Other causes

However, you may also build COPD if you are revealed to chemicals and fumes in the workplace. Permanent exposure to air pollution and inhaling dust can also cause COPD. In some developing countries, along with tobacco products, homes are often poorly ventilated, compelling families to breathe fumes from burning fuel used for cooking and heating.

However, there may be a genetic predisposition to building COPD. Up to an approx 5% of people with COPD have a deficiency in a protein called alpha-1-antitrypsin. However, this deficiency creates the lungs to deteriorate and also can influence the liver. There may be other related genetic factors at play as well.

Diagnosing COPD

However, there is no single exam for COPD. Diagnosing COPD is based on the symptoms, a physical test, and diagnosis test outcomes. When you visit the health consultant, be sure to mention all of your symptoms. Tell your consultant if you:-

  • A smoker or have smoked in the previous time
  • Exposed to lung issues on the job
  • Exposed to severe secondhand smoke
  • A family history of COPD
  • Asthma or other respiratory situations
  • Over-the-counter or prescription medications

Exams and tests

During a physical test, your consultant will use a stethoscope to listen to your lungs as you breathe. Based on all this information, your consultant may order some of these tests to get a complete picture:-

  • Spirometry is a noninvasive exam to assess lung function. During the exam, you will take a huge breath and then blow into a tube interacted with the spirometer.
  • Imaging exams, such as chest x-ray or CT scan. However, these images can supply a detailed look at your lungs, blood vessels, and heart.

The above tests can support to determine if you have COPD or a different condition, like asthma, a restrictive lung disease, or heart failure.

Treatment of COPD

Treatment can reduce symptoms, stop complications, and normally slow disease progression. Your medical professionals may include a lung specialist (pulmonologist) and physical and respiratory therapists.

Oxygen therapy

However, if your blood oxygen level is severely low, you can take supplemental oxygen through a mask or nasal cannula to support you breathe better.


Surgery is reserved for many more COPD or when other treatments have failed, which is severe likely when you have a form of many emphysema. One type of surgery is known as bullectomy. During this method, the consultant stops large, abnormal air spaces (bullae) from the lungs.

Another is a lung volume reduction surgery, which stops damaged upper lung tissue. However, this surgery can be more effective inĀ improving breathing, but few patients undergo this major, somewhat risky procedure.

Lifestyle changes

However, certain lifestyle changes may also support alleviate your symptoms or provide relief.

  • If you smoke, quit. Your consultant can recommend appropriate products or support services.
  • Whenever possible, ignore secondhand smoke and chemical fumes.
  • Talk to your consultant about how much exercise is safe for you.

Last Updated on July 28, 2023 by john liam