What is COPD?
Before learning how to diagnose and prevent COPD, it is important to understand what it is first. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, is a disease in which the airways are persistently obstructed. This bronchial disease is mainly caused by exposure to tobacco smoke and causes the airways to be obstructed. It is a dangerous disease that strikes mainly men. Its presence is more common in adults over 40 years old and occurs mainly in smokers.
Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis
COPD may appear in the form of two different disorders: emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Both of these diseases are closely linked and are usually both present at the same time. This is why emphysema and chronic bronchitis are both grouped under chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Another important fact to know before learning to diagnose and prevent COPD.
Exactly what causes COPD?
COPD is the most common chronic lung disease in the world. Millions of people suffer from COPD. It is the second leading cause of work incapacitation, right after heart disease. Smoking and working in polluted environments are the two main causes of COPD. That makes the disease particularly common among coal miners, those who work in metallurgy, and in jobs exposed to dust.
The disease is more frequent amongst men than women and has a higher mortality rate too. COPD also appears very frequently in some families, a fact that could lead to a hereditary tendency.
The first step in learning to diagnose and prevent COPD is detecting it. The initial symptoms consist mainly of coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and lack of energy. When the disease progresses, other symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, chest tightening, excess mucus in the lungs and exacerbations appear.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease comes in two phases:
- The early stage – In the early stages of the disease, the oxygen concentration in the blood is decreased, but the carbon dioxide values remain normal.
- The advanced stage – In the advanced stages, when the disease is more severe, carbon dioxide values rise while those of oxygen continue to decline.
COPD manifests itself in different ways and may appear after 5 or 10 years of smoking of being exposed to gaseous pollutants.
Now that you know how to diagnose COPD, it’s time to learn how to prevent it too. The only real way to prevent the disease is by avoiding exposure to the risk factors that cause it. As stated before, these factors include tobacco and contaminated environments. Therefore, it is essential to avoid smoking to prevent COPD. It is also very important to maintain a good general health, perform exercises and follow a healthy diet to increase the body’s resistance to infections.
As you can see, COPD is no joke. It can impact your health in a very negative way. Luckily, It is not that hard to diagnose and prevent COPD. If you just keep away from the risk factors, avoid smoking and adopt a healthy lifestyle you should be just fine.