COPD is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. This is a disease of the lung tissue that causes major damage to the lung airways. Eventually, the airways will be completely blocked and leave a person unable to breathe freely at all. COPD gets worse over time without intervention, so treatment is very important. There are 2 main kinds of COPD seen today, emphysema and bronchitis. For many COPD sufferers, these two things are present at the same time.
The first indicator is usually a chronic cough, with the cough often bringing up mucus. It is not unusual for COPD sufferers to have trouble breathing, so wheezing is often observed as a person with COPD tries to breathe. Some people who are suffering from COPD have chest pain due to the struggle to breathe and the deep cough.
Chronic cigarette smokers have the highest chance of developing COPD. In fact, nearly all COPD sufferers currently smoke or have smoked in the past. While other kinds of smoking can result in COPD, cigar or pipe smokers don't tend to develop COPD as often as cigarette smokers since they don't inhale the smoke. People who live in areas with a lot of air pollution and people who work or live in poorly ventilated environments are more likely to develop COPD, as well.
The main test for COPD is usually spirometry. In this type of test, the overall lung function is tested using painless means. The doctor is simply checking how much air the patient can inhale and exhale to get a good idea of lung capacity. Other tests like x-ray images of the test may also be needed.
Yes, COPD can be successfully treated in most cases. Treatments may include bronchodilator medicine, corticosteroids, and antibiotics.
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