A group of lung diseases that block airflow and make it difficult to breathe. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the most common conditions that make up COPD. Damage to the lungs from COPD can't be reversed
What causes COPD?
What causes COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)? The cause of COPD is usually long - term exposure to irritants that damage your lungs and airways. In the United States, cigarette smoke is the main cause. Pipe, cigar, and other types of tobacco smoke can also cause COPD, especially if you inhale them.
The stage's and symptoms of COPD are:
• Mild. Your airflow is somewhat limited, but you don't notice it much. You cough and have mucus every once in a while.
• Moderate. Your airflow is worse. You're often short of breath after doing something active. This is the point where most people notice symptoms and get help.
• Severe. Your airflow and shortness of breath are worse. You can't do normal exercise anymore. Your symptoms flare up frequently, also called an exacerbation.
• Very severe: Your airflow is limited, your flares are more regular and intense, and your quality of life is poor.
How does your doctor know which stage of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ( COPD ) you are in ?
Your doctor has a few ways to decide which stage your disease is in . They'll use a test called spirometry to measure how much air your lungs can take in , or your lung capacity They may also take X - rays of your chest or do a blood test to measure how much oxygen is getting into your lungs .
Your doctor also looks at other symptoms (like shortness of breath), how strong your lungs are, and your overall quality of life to find out the stage. Most people have about half of their normal lung capacity by the time they get diagnosed.
How is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) treated?
Treatments include many different drugs special exercises, oxygen therapy, surgery and complementary therapies.
Why is it important to quit smoking if you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?
If you smoke, the most important thing you can do is quit. It's the best way to improve your COPD symptoms or keep your disease from getting worse. If you live with a smoker, it will help you if they quit. If you work in a place where people smoke or the air is polluted, you may have to consider changing jobs.
What medication can help improve symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?
Medications for COPD can help improve your lung capacity, ease inflammation, relax muscles in your airways, and improve your breathing. They include:
• Bronchodilators that you breathe in through an inhaler. These come in short and long - acting forms. Some stop the muscles in your airways from tightening up (anticholinergics). Others relax muscles that are already tight (beta agonists).
Anti - inflammatory meds or corticosteroids (or steroids) are often inhaled COPD drugs. But if your symptoms are getting worse, you may take pills for a short time.
• Antibiotics to fight infections that cause symptom flare - ups.
• Vaccinations against the flu or pneumonia.
• Roflumilast (Daliresp). It's the first of a new class of COPD drugs called phosphodiesterase - 4 inhibitors that ease flares for people at the severe stage.
What are some other treatments that can help symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?
Other COPD treatments can also make breathing easier:
. Oxygen therapy gives you more energy for your daily tasks and helps you sleep. Surgery can remove diseased lung tissue, make your lungs smaller so you can breathe better, or give you a new transplanted lung.
• Pulmonary rehabilitation includes exercises and better nutrition to help improve your breathing and overall health.
How do treatments for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) change with stages?
Your doctor will prescribe different treatments at each stage of your disease. If your COPD gets worse, you may need to add treatments to help you breathe, feel better, or lower your chance of having flares.
• Mild. You'll take a short - acting bronchodilator and a flu vaccine.
• Moderate. You may add a long - acting bronchodilator if needed, and try pulmonary rehabilitation.
• Severe. You might add inhaled corticosteroids if you have flares that get worse or more frequent
. • Very severe. You may add long - term oxygen therapy if you have chronic respiratory failure, as well as consider lung surgery.
You can try treatments to improve your quality of life at any stage. This is called palliative care. Complementary treatments like acupuncture, massage, or yoga might help you feel a bit better, too.
What breathing exercises help COPD?
There are two key breathing exercises:
Pursed - lips breathing: Breathe in through your nose for 2 seconds. Pucker your lips. Blow air through your mouth for about 5 seconds. This slows your breathing, keeps your airways open, and helps boost oxygen.
Abdominal (diaphragmatic) breathing: Relax your shoulders. Put one hand on your heart and the other on your stomach. Inhale through your nose, making sure your stomach expands. Slowly breathe out through pursed lips, pressing on your belly.
What types of exercise can you do with COPD?
Stretching. It improves flexibility, prevents injury, and gets your heart pumping. Hold a stretch for 10 to 30 seconds a few times a day. You can do stretches as an exercise or use them as a warm - up and cool - down.
• Aerobics. This doesnt have to be high intensity workout. A 30 - minute walk or swim a few times a week can boost the amount of oxygen in your system.
• Resistance. Strength exercises - with exercise bands, weights, or even working against your own muscle resistance - build muscles and ease breathing.