Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease that can be explained as the air that is breathed into the lungs cannot be expelled easily. The two processes that cause this condition are chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
With respiration, the place where the oxygen in the breathing air passes into the blood and the carbon dioxide in the blood goes out is the vesicles called alveoli at the end of the respiratory tract. Chronic bronchitis is the inflammation and narrowing of the airways, called the bronchi, that go to the alveoli.
Emphysema means the fragmentation and enlargement of these airways and sacs. As a result, the air taken in breathing cannot be transmitted to the alveoli and remains restricted in the lung. This condition is called COPD.
Changes in the lungs caused by COPD can cause other diseases. Therefore, diagnoses such as Emphysema and chronic bronchitis may accompany this disease in people with COPD. Among the diseases that COPD patients get more frequently, there is also infection with coronavirus symptoms. As a result of the researches, patients with COPD are more exposed to this virus.
Causes of COPD
Smoking is shown as the most important cause of COPD. COPDis one of the most common diseases worldwide. The progression of COPD may vary depending on the number of cigarettes smoked per day.
COPD used to be more common in men. But nowadays, with the increase in cigarette consumption, it has taken its place among the common diseases in women. Other causes of COPD can be listed as follows;
- Occupational deformation (such as mining and metalworking, transportation sector, wood and paper manufacturing, cement, grain and textile work ...)
- Genetic diseases
- Air pollution
- Age and gender
COPD It usually does not cause symptoms until permanent lung damage has occurred. However, after symptoms occur, if factors such as smoking are not eliminated that cause illness, it will continually worsen over time.
COPD Symptoms May Include:
- Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Sputum that can be white, yellow or green in color
- Cyanosis (a bluish color from the skin, especially around the mouth, eyes, and nails)
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Unwanted weight loss (in advanced stages)
- Swelling in ankles, feet, or legs
Diagnostic Methods of COPD
The diagnosis of COPD is made by considering the complaints of the person after the examination. COPD More than one test may be recommended by your physician for diagnosis. Some of these tests are; Pulmonary x-ray, blood count, biochemistry, arterial blood gas determination, respiratory test and tomography if deemed necessary by the physician.
Respiratory function test (spirometry) It is an examination used to confirm the diagnosis of COPD. It is of great importance in the diagnosis of COPD and differentiation from other lung diseases by determining the respiratory volume and air breathing rate of patients with long-term dyspnea, cough and sputum complaints, and a history of smoking. Arterial blood gas is used in the case of respiratory failure to determine the level and type of insufficiency.
COPD Treatment Methods
The lung damage that occurs in COPD, once it occurs, is not curable or reversible. However, treatments can alleviate the symptoms of the disease, eliminate complications due to the disease, or help slow the rapid progress of the disease.
Untreated COPD patients, on the other hand, cannot even do their daily movements as the disease progresses and may become bedridden after a while. If the person diagnosed with COPD is a smoker, they should quit smoking as soon as possible. Quitting smoking will stop the increase in lung damage and will enable the person to breathe more easily.
COPD disease has 4 different stages. These; passes as light, medium, heavy and very heavy. Treatment methods may vary depending on the stage of COPD disease and the condition of the person. Medication applications include sprays and medications given by special machines.
One of the most important points in the treatment of COPD is to prevent COPD exacerbations and to treat them if they occur. COPD exacerbations are attacks that are usually caused by lung infections and progress with sudden worsening in the condition of people with COPD. Patients become quite susceptible to lung infections due to deterioration in lung structures.
It can become a dangerous situation for people with COPD, who already have restricted lung functions, to have lung infections. In the treatment of such conditions, some other drugs that can overcome the condition will be initiated in addition to the drugs prescribed for COPD. In order to prevent exacerbations, it is important to make protective applications such as vaccines, upon the advice of your physician.
Smoking is the most important factor in the treatment of COPD. Whatever treatment is administered to a person with COPD, as long as he does not quit smoking, lung function losses will continue to decrease rapidly. The decrease in lung function of the COPD patient who quit smoking is reduced by almost half and the obstructions due to smoking (such as sputum, etc.) are reduced.
Pulmonary Rehabilitation Therapy
People with moderate to severe COPD do not want to leave the house due to shortness of breath (such as difficulty walking or moving), and this causes the person's muscles to weaken. Pulmonary rehabilitation therapy is recommended for people with moderate to severe COPD. With this treatment method, the patient's breathing is regulated and the person's muscles are strengthened by performing simple movements.