Chest Diseases

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
​What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?
The COPD is not a single disease, but a general term for a number of chronic pulmonary diseases which impede the air flow in the lungs, such as the chronic bronchitis.
What are the main symptoms and signs of COPD?
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  • Shortness of breath, especially during physical activity.
  • Wheezing.
  • Blueness of the lips and fingernails.
  • Chronic cough with phlegm.
  • Frequent respiratory infections.
  • Weight loss.
Risk factors of COPD:
  • Smoking is the leading cause of COPD.
  • Exposure to the tobacco smoke (second-hand smoking).
  • Exposure to indoor pollution (as a result of using solid fuel for the purpose of cooking and heating).
  • Exposure to dust and chemicals at place of work (exposure to vapors, irritants and fumes).
  • Constant exposure to the various types of the lower respiratory tract infections, during childhood.
  • Age: Over 40 people are more prone to the COPD.
  • Hereditary factors are influential in some rare cases.
How is COPD diagnosed?
  • Spirometry: A simple test that measures how much air a person can inhale and exhale, and how fast air can move into and out of the lungs. Because COPD develops slowly, it is frequently diagnosed in people aged 40 or older.
  • Chest X-ray.
  • CT scan.
  • Testing proportion of Oxygen in the blood.
What are the complications of the COPD?
  • Respiratory tract infections: The COPD patient is more likely to get frequent colds, flu and pneumonia. Additionally, any respiratory infection can make it much more difficult to breathe and cause damage to the lung tissue.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension): COPD may cause high blood pressure in the arteries that bring blood to your lungs (pulmonary hypertension).
  • Heart disorders: For unknown reasons, COPD also increases the risk of heart diseases, including heart attack.
  • Lung cancer: Smokers with chronic bronchitis are more vulnerable to lung cancer than those without chronic bronchitis.
  • Depression: Some patients may get depressed as a result of breathing difficulty and inability to do the normal daily activities.
Is there a cure for COPD?
There's no final or effective cure for COPD. As a result, the therapeutic plan depends on quitting smoking, alleviating symptoms in order to avoid complications of the disease, following a healthy lifestyle (healthy diet in addition to physical activity), and using medications under medical supervision, so as to reduce symptoms and protection against complications, such as: 
  • Bronchodilators: They help relaxing the muscles around your airways. This can help relieve coughing and shortness of breath.
  • Inhaled steroids: Inhaled corticosteroid medications can reduce airway inflammation and help prevent exacerbation.
  • Oral steroids: They can reduce airway inflammation and help prevent exacerbation. 
  • Phosphodiesterase -4 inhibitors: A new type of medication approved for people with severe COPD. This drug reduces airway inflammation.
  • Theophylline: This medication helps improve breathing and prevents exacerbation.
  • Antibiotics: They help treating inflammations of the respiratory tract such as acute bronchitis, pneumonia and influenza, which help preventing exacerbation of symptoms. 
Lung therapy:
  • Oxygen therapy: It is given in the event of a lack of oxygen and shortness of breath to help improving the health condition of the COPD patients.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation program: The program is used for hospitalized patients, which is a range of activities in education, physical activities and nutrition under the supervision of a group of specialists to improve patients' quality of life.
  • Surgery for some rare cases to remove the infected part of the lung.
  •  Lung transplant for advanced cases.
Protection of Persons at High Risk against COPD:
  • Avoiding exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution and irritants.
  • Avoiding exposure to fluctuation of weather and dust.
  • Eating healthy food like fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and chicken.
  • Medical examination of the lung (spirometry), to assess the functionality of the lung for those over 45 years of age.
  • Taking the seasonal influenza vaccine for prevention of recurrent respiratory tract inflammations.
  • Taking the necessary precautions and abiding by safety instructions in factories and work places. 
Last Update : 15 March 2018 10:49 AM
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