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Health Education Blog

How Do You Get COPD?

Posted by Staff on February 19, 2018

COPDAccording to Web MD, COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This is a very serious disease that makes it difficult to breathe. It is actually a combination of two diseases: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Smoking is the most common cause, however childhood lung issues or regular inhalation of fumes or particals can also case COPD. Read on to find out what this means for you.

COPD is the Combination of These 2 Diseases:

  • Chronic bronchitis: When you have chronic bronchitis, the bronchial tubes, which are the airways that carry air to the lungs, become inflamed. This can cause your body to make too much mucus. This mucus can block your airway, making it difficult for you to breathe.

  • Emphysema: There are tiny sacks in your lungs that resemble balloons. When you breathe in and out, the sacks expand and shrink, helping you get air in and out of your lungs. Emphysema occurs when the sacks are damaged and they can no longer stretch. This will make it difficult for you to get air in and out of your lungs, which can make you feel out of breath.

What Are the Symptoms of COPD?

COPD has a few symptoms. Some are symptoms of other diseases, therefore, if you are suffering from any of the symptoms, you should visit your everyday health care clinic to get a true diagnosis. The symptoms of COPD include:

  • A cough that doesn't go away, also known as a chronic cough

  • Shortness of breath that gets worse when you exercise. In severe cases, the shortness of breath can occur when you are doing simple things like taking a shower or cooking a meal.

  • A cough producing a great deal of mucus

  • As the disease progresses, it can take more energy to breathe. This can cause you to tire quickly and to lose weight.

What Causes COPD?

According to doctors at the Mayo Clinic, there are a few different causes of COPD. Most people who suffer from COPD are smokers and they have been for years. If you have been a long-term smoker, breathing in the tobacco smoke can irritate your airways. Over time, this will destroy the stretchy sacs in your lungs making it difficult for you to breathe. Secondhand smoke can also cause COPD. A few other less common causes include breathing in dust, chemical fumes, or air pollution over a long period of time, which often occurs on the job. Finally, if you had a serious lung infection when you were a child, you could develop COPD.

How Is COPD Treated?

COPD gets worse over time. Unfortunately, you cannot undo the damage that has already been done to your lungs. However, there are steps that you can take and treatments available that will prevent you from further damaging your lungs and treatments to help you breathe better.

  • Quit smoking: The best way to slow the progress of COPD and to prevent further damage to your lungs is to quit smoking. It is never too late to quit. The sooner you do, the better. If you are having trouble quitting smoking, the professionals at Orchard Hospital can prescribe nicotine gum, nicotine patches, and prescription medication to help you quit successfully.

  • Medication: There are medications available that will help you to breathe easier. Most of these medications are delivered via an inhaler and they go directly to your lungs. In order for these medications to be effective, they have to be taken exactly as directed.

  • Lung Rehab: When you are diagnosed with COPD, your doctor might recommend a lung rehab program. This is where you will be counseled so that you can live with the COPD. You will learn techniques to help you breathe easier. You will also learn how to eat better and exercise safely.

  • Oxygen Therapy: As your disease progresses, your doctor will recommend oxygen for use at certain times of the day or constantly.

Lifestyle Changes Necessary If You Are Living With COPD

When you are diagnosed with COPD, there are a few lifestyle changes that need to be made to avoid further damage and to keep from having COPD flare-ups. A COPD flare-up is also known as a COPD exacerbation. These flare-ups can be mild or life-threatening. The longer you have the disease, the more the flare-ups will be.

  • Avoid Irritants: To avoid flare-ups, you should avoid anything that can irritate your lungs. Quitting smoking is important. Also, if you are breathing inhalants at work, you may need to change professions. If you live in an area where air pollution is high, you should stay in the house on high-risk days.

  • Air Filters: You should frequently change the air filters in your home to keep the air quality indoors healthy.

  • Exercise: Exercise is very important if you have COPD. You won't be able to exercise the way that you once did, therefore, you should talk to your doctor about a safe and effective exercise regimen.

  • Healthy Diet: If you have COPD, you need to start eating healthy. COPD can cause you to become weak and you will need a healthy diet to build up your strength. If you are losing weight due to the disease, your doctor can help you find ways to get the calories and the energy that you need.

COPD is a very serious disease. When you understand how it is caused, it is easier for you to keep from getting it. If the damage is already done, there are treatments available and lifestyle changes that you can make so that you can enjoy a better quality of life. Download this free resource for more information on COPD.


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Topics: COPD

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