Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an inflammatory lung ailment which will cause obstruction of airflow to and from the lungs. Apart from cigarette smoking, other causes for COPD include prolonged exposure to harmful gases, dust, chemicals or other air pollutants. Those who are affected by COPD are more vulnerable to lung cancer and cardiac ailments. The two most common lung ailments - chronic bronchitis and emphysema - can lead to COPD.
Daily cough and production of sputum are the signs of chronic bronchitis. Air passes through the bronchial tubes to and from the air sacs of the lungs which are also known as alveoli. Inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes is called chronic bronchitis. Alveoli are the smallest air passages of the lungs and when the alveoli are destroyed as a result of cigarette smoking or exposure to irritant gases or air pollutants, the condition is called emphysema.
COPD can be treated and if detected earlier, treated properly and managed correctly, those affected by this disease can control the symptoms to a great extent and lead a comfortable life. Proper treatment, as well as managing of COPD, is essential to avoid the risk of associated conditions.
Here are a list of Signs and Symptoms of COPD
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Symptoms and signs
Difficulty in breathing, wheezing, and production of sputum are considered as basic symptoms of COPD. Exposure to smoking or air pollutants is the main cause of COPD and if the exposure continues for a long period of time the disease is likely to worsen. In most of the cases, by the time the symptoms of COPD appear it might have inflicted considerable damage to the lungs. If a person has daily cough and production of sputum for no less than three months in a year for two consecutive years it can be taken as a symptom of chronic bronchitis.
Those affected by COPD will experience shortness of breath, especially during physical activities. Wheezing and tightness of chest also indicate COPD. There will be an excessive quantity of mucus in the lungs of those affected by COPD and as a result, COPD patients have to clear their throat daily in the morning. Chronic cough and production of clear, white, yellow or green sputum are also signs of COPD.
If the lips and fingernail beds get bluish, it is to be taken as a sign of COPD. This phenomenon is called cyanosis. COPD patients are prone to frequent infections of the respiratory system. The patient will experience a lack of energy and may also experience gradual weight loss. Swelling of ankles, legs, and feet is also a sign of COPD. The symptoms of COPD may get worse for a few days and such episodes are called exacerbations.
If you have been seeing any of these symptoms lately please talk to your doctor to see if you have COPD. The earlier it is detected and the faster it is treated the better and more comfortable life you will have.
According to WHO estimates, 65 million people have moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). More than 3 million people died of COPD in 2005, which corresponds to 5% of all deaths globally.
Severe COPD can get to a point where your lungs may stop functioning and you may need a lung transplant.
Did you know that lung transplants have the lowest survival rate among all transplants? Only about 50% of people live 5 years after having a lung transplant and patients have to take up to 50 pills a day!
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