What Is COPD?
What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?
COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and is a fatal disease that affects the lungs. The disease is diagnosed by a simple, easy test called spirometry. Normal breathing of the patient is affected due to severe obstruction of lung airflow. Unusual shortness of breath and forced expiration are the signs of COPD. Those who want to know COPD meaning should not confuse this disease with cough and the production of sputum. All those who cough and get sputum are not diagnosed with COPD. Though low peak flow is a symptom of COPD other lung ailments also have the same symptom. Hence specific tests are necessary to confirm COPD. By conducting the spirometry test the physicians measure the depth of the patient's breath and also the speed at which air moves into the lungs as well as out of the lungs. COPD is considered as a chronic progressive lung disease which cannot be cured completely. Early detection, proper treatment, and lifestyle changes can reduce the severity of COPD though the disease is irreversible.
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Different lung diseases
Those who try to understand COPD meaning should first of all note that COPD denotes different lung diseases like emphysema, refractory asthma and chronic bronchitis. Increasing breathlessness is the basic characteristic of this disease. Though COPD is currently incurable, proper management of the disease will enable the patient to considerably reduce the severity of breathlessness and lead an active life for many years. Shortness of breath and coughing could indicate COPD. Those who notice these symptoms should immediately consult their doctor and undergo the spirometry test. Though symptoms of COPD differ from patient to patient there are a few common symptoms like shortness of breath, frequent cough with or without mucus, increased breathlessness, wheezing and tightness of the chest. There are also different types of COPD.
Other factors to consider
Though COPD’s meaning is more related to increasing breathlessness while conducting the test for diagnosis of COPD it is advisable to consider other things as well. It is to be noted whether the patient has a cough and in case he/she coughs do the cough brings out mucus most of the time. In case the answer is "yes" the COPD of the particular patient is of chronic bronchitis type. This type of COPD will respond to various medicines. If the COPD is of the emphysema type, the lungs of the patient will be larger and stretched out. It is possible to decrease the size of the enlarged lung by providing proper treatment. COPD patients who suffer due to other ailments such as heart diseases, high BP, diabetes, heartburn or depression are required to manage COPD in various different ways.
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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