COPD: Causes, Risk Factors and Treatment


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease or in short, COPD, refers to lung diseases that could include chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease. This disease affects the lungs of people and they usually have difficulty in breathing. The difficulty in breathing is caused due to the narrowing of the airway and this causes obstruction in the flow of air to and from the lungs.

Causes of COPD

The most common cause of COPD is smoking. Even though this disease can also be caused by pollution, dust, fumes and genes, these causes are very rare and most of the people who suffer from COPD are those who smoke.

The more a person smokes, the more likely is that person to suffer from COPD or increase the severity of the disease. Everyone knows that smoking is bad for the lungs. The more smoke that goes in, the more the lungs get inflamed. This leads to scarring of the lungs, which makes the airways thicken and become narrower. The lungs also become less elastic. All these changes lead to formation of phlegm, mucus, breathlessness and other breathing problems, leading to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Most Likely Affected by COPD

COPD usually presents itself when a person is about 35 years old. The problem is that most people who smoke do not notice the signs of COPD and simply dismiss it as a cough because of the smoking. They either live with COPD or it often gets diagnosed when they are in their fifties. If the following symptoms start to occur, especially for those who smoke, it is advisable to visit a doctor and get checked so that this disease can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

• Frequently occurring breathlessness

• A continuous cough accompanied by phlegm

• Chest infections

Prevention and Treatment of COPD

The best way to prevent COPD is to stop smoking. The more you smoke, the more likely you are of getting this disease. In order to stop smoking, you need to consciously change your entire lifestyle and try your best to quit smoking. This can be done with the help of nicotine patches or chewing gum. Visit a doctor to guide you on how to reduce your smoking the correct way.

Even for those who already suffer from COPD, it is necessary to stop smoking immediately. Even though the lung damage cannot be treated, you can use various medicines in order to keep the COPD under control. Some may need to carry an inhaler for the breathlessness or may be prescribed medicines to relieve the pain.

Very few people may have to go in for surgery if this condition gets serious.

People with COPD should also make an effort to exercise regularly, practice breathing exercises and try to improve their quality of life in order to keep this condition under control.
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