Ever felt that you are running out of breath while performing physical activities? Have you faced frequent infections in the respiratory tract? Got swellings on your ankles, feet or legs without any reason? Then it’s time for you to know about COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) might be the reason for the above symptoms.
So what is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease?
COPD is an inflammation caused in the lungs which results in obstructing the respiratory tract causing breathing problems. The major reasons for this might be emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis refers to a burning sensation in the bronchial tract which is a bridge between alveoli and the lungs. Whereas, Emphysema is where the alveoli at the smallest tract of the lungs are infected because of high exposure to cigarette smoke and other harmful gasses. With proper treatment, COPD is a curable disease.
What causes COPD?
Studies have found that the main reason behind it is high tobacco smoking. Apart from this inhaling hazardous fumes of burning fuel might also be a factor. In the majority of cases of COPD, the cause might be long term cigarette smoking. But that doesn’t mean that all smokers are prone to COPD. Nearly 20 to 30 percent of smokers might develop COPD.
Another reason for COPD might be a genetic disorder that results in the fall of a protein called alpha-1-antitrypsin. The deficiency of this protein can affect the lungs as well as the liver. This need not occur only to adults with long smoking history but it might also affect infants as well.
What are the major symptoms of COPD?
- Uneasiness in the chest area.
- Excess of mucous secretion in the lungs.
- Cough that produces mucus that is white, yellow or greenish.
- Frequent infections caused in the respiration tract.
- Fall in energy level.
How to prevent COPD?
There are many diseases where the preventive and the precautionary methods are not so clear. But luckily that is not the case with COPD. Maximum COPD cases are victims because of the alveoli being directly exposed to cigarette smoke. Hence the best preventive method to avoid being affected by COPD would be to avoid smoking or stop smoking if you are into it.
Exposure to hazardous chemical fumes and dust. In case you are working at such an atmosphere where you are directly exposed to the above mention fumes make sure you speak to your manager about your safety and protect yourself with equipment such as respiratory protective equipment.