Do you have difficulty in breathing?
What is COPD?
COPD is a lung disease. Airways carry air to the lungs. Airways get smaller and smaller like branches of a tree. At the end of each tiny branch there are many small air sacs-like tiny balloons.In healthy people, each airway is clear and open. Each tiny air sac fills up with air. Then the air quickly goes out.
COPD stands for
“Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease”
‘Chronic’ means it won’t go away.
‘Obstructive’ means partly blocked.
‘Pulmonary’ means in the lungs and airways.
‘Disease’ means sickness.
When you have COPD, you can have problems with your lungs.
- The openings of the airways are smaller.
Less air gets in because:
- The walls of the airways get thick and swollen.
- The airways are squeezed by small muscles around them.
- The mucus makes the ariways obstructed that you have to cough out to get rid off it.
- The tiny air sacs cannot empty fully and your lungs feel very full.
Your doctor can help you understand the problems you have with your lungs.
Who gets COPD?
You cannot get COPD from someone else.
Adults get COPD, not children.
Most people with COPD are smokers or were smokers in the past. Any form of smoking can cause COPD.
Some people with COPD have lived in homes filled with fumes from cooking stoves or fumes from heaters used to warm the home. So, also women may have COPD
Some people with COPD worked for many years in places that were very dusty or smoky.
Some people have hereditary tendency for emphysema
Go to a doctor when you first have problems with breathing or problems with a cough that lasts for more than two weeks.
When you have breathing problems, the sooner you see a doctor about COPD, the better.
Doctors can tell you how bad your COPD has become.
If COPD is not too bad, it is called mild COPD.
If COPD is getting bad, it is called moderate COPD.
If COPD is very bad, it is called severe COPD.
COPD is diagnosed with a simple breathing test called spirometry
What You Can Do About a Lung Disease Called COPD
Doctors cannot cure COPD, but they can help to improve your symptoms and slow the damage to your lungs.
Adults may have COPD if they have trouble breathing or a cough that will not go away.
Stop smoking is the main treatment
What you and your family can do about COPD.
- Stop smoking.
- Take each medicine the way the doctor says to take it. Go to the doctor at least two times a year for checkups. Ask if you can get a flu shot.
- Go to the hospital or doctor right away if your breathing gets bad.
- Keep the air clean at home. Stay away from things like smoke that make it hard to breathe.
- Keep your body strong. Walk, exercise regularly and eat healthy foods. Swimming is the best exercise for the chest.
- If your COPD is severe, get the most out of your breath . Make life as easy as possible at home.
- Breathing exercises can help you when you are having trouble breathing. They can strengthen the muscles you need for breathing.
Ask your doctor to explain the breathing exercises that would be best for you.