Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a debilitating condition that obstructs airflow from the lungs, thus hampering one’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities with ease. Every year, November 18 is observed as World COPD Day to raise awareness about the chronic inflammatory lung condition. The theme for this year is ‘Living well with COPD – Everybody, Everywhere’, so make sure you follow all the essential tips, and enhance your quality of life, said Dr Harish Chafle, consultant intensivist, and chest physician, Global Hospital, Mumbai.
What is COPD?
Emphysema, a type of COPD that tends to cause damage to the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs, and chronic bronchitis that can lead to inflammation of the lining of bronchial tubes which carry air to and from the air sacs of the lungs, are the two most common conditions that may lead to COPD. Not only this, even smoking and exposure to chemicals or pollution can invite COPD.
The incidence of COPD is rising because of poor ambient air quality in cities like New Delhi and Mumbai. Also, commonly-used things like mosquito repellent coils used at home can cause COPD as exposure to the same at night was found to be equivalent to smoking 100 cigarettes together.
Symptoms of COPD
COPD symptoms include wheezing, chest tightness, breathing difficulties, chronic cough, respiratory infections, fatigue, unintentional weight loss, and swelling of the legs, feet, and ankle. Moreover, some of the symptoms may overlap with Covid-19. So it is important to visit a doctor to carry out a correct diagnose.
Treatment of COPD
*You will be advised to opt for pulmonary rehabilitation by your doctor. Severe cases may need lung transplants. Do not self-medicate and only take medications prescribed by the doctor. Doing PFT or Spirometry for Diagnosis of COPD is important.
*Take inhalers regularly as prescribed by your chest physician. Inhaled therapy is the best way to treat diseases like COPD as inhaled medications go at the disease site. Hence, they are less likely to have side effects as compared to oral medications, said Dr Chafle.
*Vaccination against influenza and pneumonia is necessary to avoid severe infections. These infections cause critical care admissions in COPD patients.
Here’s how you can live better with COPD
If you smoke on a regular basis then give it up, right away! Smoking tends to cause irritation and inflammation in the lungs. Try to go for smoking cessation sessions that may benefit you.
Try to stay physically active by running, walking, cycling, swimming, aerobics, and even gymming and cut those excess kilos. You will also have to do breathing exercises as suggested by your doctor.
Keep stress at bay
Stress can aggravate your condition. Do yoga or meditation to calm down.
Keep your surroundings clean
Ensure that the air quality is good at home. There should be less indoor pollution. Clean the curtains, carpets and prevent allergens and dust from entering the house. Use a humidifier too.