Experiencing long bouts of breathlessness or finding it difficult to breathe even while climbing up stairs?
You might have something called Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is a lung disease which is caused due to poor air flow in the body. This is usually a long-term disease and worsens as time passes by.
COPD is a highly growing disease affecting up to 2 percent of the global population which comes to roughly 175 million people. It usually occurs in people, male and female both who are above the age of 40. In 2015, COPD was the cause of 3.2 million deaths which was 2.4 million in 1990 which equals to 800,000 increase in 25 years.
Reputed pulmonologists have stressed on the early detection of this disease resulting in less severity. The earlier the person detects his breathing problems and consults a doctor, the better it is for them.
Symptoms of COPD:
The symptoms of COPD have a narrow and targeted approach. In most cases, tobacco smoking has resulted in this disease along with constant exposure to harmful air or even toxic atmospheres. Other common symptoms include cough, shortness of breath etc.
Some of the symptoms for COPD are:
- Cough: A cough is the first and foremost symptom to be seen for a COPD. The cough is chronic in nature and it usually persists for more than three months in one year for at least two years. The cough is usually accompanied by sputum production. Continued smoking for long periods of time often result in cough with sputum and is a major cause of COPD.
- Shortness of Breath: Shortness of breath occurs for most people who have COPD. It happens and worsens due to increased exertion for and lasts for long periods of time.
- Other Symptoms: Advanced COPD often results in high pressure on arteries which eventually leads to leg swelling and bulging neck veins. COPD can often occur with a number of other conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, lung cancer and also depression.
The causes of COPD are not many. Some of the main causes of COPD are:
- Smoking: Tobacco smoking is one of the chief reasons for COPD. Of the people who smoke, around 20% of them will have COPD. Most of the people who have COPD currently smoke or have smoked in the past. Studies say that around 20% of passive smokers also have COPD due to the amount of tobacco inhaled from their surroundings. Women are said to be more susceptible to COPD than men.
- Air Pollution: One of the most common environmental issue we face is air pollution. The number of vehicles increasing, more fuels being burned and cutting of trees has resulted in the air to be more polluted than ever. The toxic air we breathe everyday has made the people more prone to get COPD.
- Occupational Exposures: Long exposure to dust, chemical fumes, toxicity in the workplace has proven to result in people being affected by COPD. Around 10-20% of cases of COPD is due to exposure in the workplace.
- Genetics: Studies say that genetics do play a role in the development of COPD in people. In a recent case study, it was determined that around one to five percent of COPD cases were from genetic factors.
Prevention of COPD:
- Reduction of Smoking: For the people who smoke often, a reduction in the frequency and the quantity often helps in the reduction of the symptoms of COPD. COPD is usually a lifelong process and it doesn’t get cured completely. It is a measure to reduce the rate of worsening lung infection. For the people who don’t smoke, they need to be discouraged from doing so as it has an increased effect on them once they get used to smoking regularly.
- Occupational Health: For people whose occupations include a certain risk of COPD. Professions such as mining, construction and stone masonry pose a great risk of COPD on the people associated with it. Hence to curtail this, public policy is very important. Encouraging people to stop or reduce smoking, educating workers about COPD and also checking them for early signs are a way of prevention and which has proved effective to a certain extent.
- Air Pollution: Air Pollution even though is a combined failure of our society, personal measures can be taken to make the quality of air better. Reducing the number of vehicles, taking up cycling as a mode of transportation and also reducing the burning of fossil fuels may result in a gradual decrease of air pollution and also prevent COPD.
All in all, even though COPD is not entirely curable, prevention is always better than cure hence necessary steps should be taken to prevent people from developing COPD.
About the hospital:
Sai Sanjeevini Multi Speciality Hospitals, a unit of Singapanga Healthcare Pvt. Ltd has been providing health services to the people in need for the last 14 years. This health care organisation combines practical, proven research, cutting edge procedures and state-of-the-art treatment to produce excellent medical and lifestyle outcome for our patients. Our hospital and medical staff provide innovative medical care in a friendly, compassionate, community environment conducive to patient recuperation in a family atmosphere.
About the doctor:
Dr. M.Ravindranath is a reputed Pulmonologist in Hyderabad and has an experience of 12 years in this field. Dr. M.Ravindranath practices at Hyderabad Chest Clinic in Dilsukh Nagar, Hyderabad and Sai Sanjeevini Hospitals in Kothapet, Hyderabad. His knowledge of pulmonology has made him one of the best in the city and most patients visit him and go home, happy. So Book your Appointment now.