Symptoms of COPD
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disorder that obstructs the airway passages and makes it difficult for the person to breathe. Major symptoms include dyspnea, chronic cough, excessive phlegm production and wheezing. Prolonged exposure to irritative chemicals like cigarette smoke can cause COPD. People with COPD are at increased risk of developing cardiovascular issues, lung cancer and other respiratory infections
COPD is further divided into two conditions: Emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Chronic bronchitis involves inflammation of bronchial mucosa which carries oxygen to and from the air sacs. Major symptoms involve daily cough and excessive mucus (sputum) production.
Emphysema is a lung disorder in which the lung alveoli are destroyed as a result of exposure to smoke and other irritative substances.
COPD is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes the blockage of airway passages makes it very difficult for the person to breathe. It is important that this disease is diagnosed at the early stage as condition of the patient only gets worse with time. Without treatment, COPD can be fatal for the patient.
According to the WHO, the Global Burden of Disease Study stated that 251 million people are suffering from COPD all around world. Research also revealed that 3.17 million people die of COPD each year all around the globe.
COPD cannot be treated completely but adequate symptomatic treatment can improve quality of life of the patient. With proper treatment, most of the symptoms of COPD can be controlled effectively.
1Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath is a fairly common symptom in patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Both chronic bronchitis and emphysema can cause breathlessness in the patient. Shortness of breath is also termed as “dyspnea.”
People with COPD have extensively damaged lungs that makes it tough for them to breathe. They often feel breathless because it is difficult to inspire and expire air from the lungs. This feeling of breathlessness can be very tiring for the patient who are forced to use accessory muscles to support their breathing. It can also make a person feel tense and frightened.
In COPD, airway passages are damaged and narrowed which results in obstruction. Shortness of breath caused by COPD can be treated if diagnosed at an early stage. First of all, patient has to take prescribed COPD medicines on daily basis. It is often advised by many pulmonologists that the patient should enroll himself in some pulmonary rehabilitation program that can help him learn ways to control their breathing in the best possible way.
Avoidance of physical activity is very common among patients of COPD. However, this habit can make the person obese and lethargic. This causes person to become even more dyspneic. A regular exercise can help improve symptoms of COPD. For some patients in the advanced stages of COPD, oxygen therapy can help decrease breathlessness.
This COPD symptoms are particularly significant during enhanced physical activity. It can make even daily tasks like walking, bathing and dressing challenging for the patient.