Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

By Christina

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a lung disease characterized by the obstruction of lung airflow or other breathing-related problems. This includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema and occasionally asthma. Main cause of COPD is prolonged exposure to irritants that damages the lungs. Usually presents with increased breathlessness or shortness of breath.

Early stages of COPD are symptomless until it has progressed to a more developed stage. Severity of the symptoms usually depend on how much lung damage you have.

Signs and symptoms may include:

• Frequent coughing (with or without sputum)
• Tightness in the chest area
• Wheezing
• Increased breathlessness
• Swelling of ankles, feet or legs (severe COPD)
• Weight loss (severe COPD)

Risk factors for COPD are
• Smoking
• Environmental factors (Secondhand Smoke, Fumes, Chemicals)
• People with family history of COPD (higher risk for smokers)

Diagnosis will be done based on the signs and symptoms, family and medical history. Tests like Pulmonary Function, Spirometry, chest X-ray or CT scans may be recommended.
There is no cure for COPD but with lifestyle changes and proper treatments can slow the progression of the disease.

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