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 World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Day

Every year, World COPD Day is held to increase public awareness of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and to educate people worldwide about this respiratory disorder. A global group called GOLD- Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease launched in 2002 which brings together medical professionals from many nations to organize public awareness campaigns regarding COPD, its prevention and to support better medical care and treatment outcomes for people who have already been diagnosed with the disease.

          The emphasis on lifelong lung health is a part of this year's theme. We only have one set of lungs when we all are born. Keeping our lungs healthy is essential for our future health and wellbeing from childhood through maturity. This campaign will concentrate on the causes of COPD from infancy to adulthood and what can be done to encourage lifetime lung health and safeguard the vulnerable population.

What is COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a common respiratory ailment that affects people of all ages worldwide. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two most common progressive lung diseases that affect the air sacs and bronchial tubes in the lungs, impairing breathing and causing lung damage. COPD is an umbrella term that refers to a variety of these conditions. The typical course of COPD is several years and in rare circumstances, it might even be a chronic condition.

          In addition to causing direct lung damage, COPD also increases a person's risk of developing heart disease, angina and respiratory infections. COPD usually leads to shortness of breath and irreparable lung damage by obstructing the airways and deteriorating pulmonary cells and tissues. However, COPD symptoms can be controlled and severe lung damage can be avoided with prompt diagnosis and treatment.

Causes of COPD

  1. Direct inhalation of toxic chemicals, fumes and dust in an occupational setting.
  2. Living in homes with inadequate ventilation and inhaling fumes from the burning of coal and fuel for cooking and heating purposes.
  3. Tobacco smoking.
  4. Continuous exposure to air pollution, dust, particulate matter etc.

Symptoms

Some persons who have both COPD and asthma experience symptoms that are similar to each other since COPD is an inflammatory lung disorder. The following symptoms are usually seen:

  1. Difficulty in breathing.
  2. Wheezing
  3. Loss of weight.
  4. Fatigue and uneasiness.
  5. Coughing with phlegm discharge.
  6. Tight clenching sensation in the chest.
  7. Accumulation of mucus in the nasal passage.


Treatment

COPD has no known cure but with the right care, the condition can be effectively treated. The corrective actions include:

  1. People with arthritis can improve their general health and lessen the severity of their symptoms by maintaining a healthy, balanced diet, getting the right amount of exercise, and refraining from smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
  2. Bronchodilators- Inhaled drugs that clear blockages from the airways, expand the lungs and promote comfortable breathing.
  3. Prescribed medications as suggested by the doctor.
  4. In case of serious COPD, Oxygen therapy and surgery are done to remove the inflamed tissues within the lungs in order to normalize the oxygen supply.

Prevention of COPD

  1. By avoiding smoking tobacco.
  2. By improving ventilation in the houses and work areas.
  3. By wearing masks or protective clothing while stepping outside in the polluted areas to avoid the toxic fumes and pollutants in the air.

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