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What You Must Know About COPD

What You Must Know About COPD

Many of us think that as we advance in age, finding it difficult to breathe after climbing a few plight of stairs is but normal. Little do we know, shortness of breath can already be a sign of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. COPD is a chronic lung condition that affects approximately 24 millions of Americans, half of them is not even aware they have it.

You may have read or heard about COPD on the web and from books, but here’s important information about COPD you may not know:

  • COPD is actually a combination of 2 disease conditions, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Emphysema is a progressive disease of the lungs that causes difficulty of breathing or shortness of breath. Chronic bronchitis on the other hand, causes inflammation of the bronchi or the small airways of the lungs. This leads to mucus production and the person affected experiences cough that does not go away.
  • Years ago, being diagnosed with COPD is just like getting a death sentence. But now, patients can take medications, engage in moderate exercise and quit smoking. With these 3 together, they can already live a normal life.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation is a life saver; it is also considered a miracle for COPD patients. Rehab programs vary widely although most of them consist of breathing exercises, training on how to breathe easily and conserve energy at the same time and nutritional counseling.
  • Risks are higher for patients living in the rural areas. They are more likely to die than patients living in urban locations. This can be attributed to the lack of hospitals that carry a pulmonary rehabilitation program in the rural areas.
  • Choosing a medical facility that has pulmonary expertise is crucial. Patients admitted in hospital that doesn’t treat COPD cases are more likely to die than those in specialty facilities.
  • People affected with COPD are at risk of depression. This is because they feel helpless that they can’t function normally and they lack control over the disease condition. Approximately 40% of COPD patients experience depression.
  • Having a healthy weight is the key. Being underweight or overweight is not good for COPD patients. Most people with COPD lose weight because of appetite loss and muscle wasting caused by emphysema. Having a weight that is under the recommended body weight can interfere with the activities of daily living. On the other hand, being overweight will make it harder for the person to breathe and sleep.
  • Do not ignore the signs and symptoms of the disease. Recognizing the disease early on can prompt early treatment that can slow down COPD.
  • Lung transplants are now possible. This is for people with severe symptoms of COPD. The procedure can greatly improve his lung function and increases his chances at survival. Surgery of course can be risky with possible complications like infections or worse, death.



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