COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

What is COPD?

It is a group of lung diseases, including Emphysema and Chronic bronchitis, that make it increasingly difficult to breathe.

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Who is likely to suffer from COPD? People AT-RISK

Adults above 35 years of age, both males and females

  • Those who smoke or used to smoke
  • Those who are exposed to biomass fuels
  • Those who are exposed to outdoor pollution
  • Those who are exposed to indoor pollution
  • Those who work in dusty conditions
  • Those who have a familial predisposition

What is the public health importance of COPD?

  • One in every 10 adults is likely to suffer from COPD
  • It is the 3rd largest killer disease after heart disease and cancer
  • While heart disease has started to decrease, COPD is becoming more common

How would I know if I have COPD: The symptoms

If you are at-risk as defined above, you can get COPD

Early diagnosis offers the best chance of recovery. However,

  • Early COPD is difficult to diagnose because it has a long silent period of no symptoms.
  •  It can only be diagnosed by lung function tests.

Later on, the following symptoms appear:

  • Shortness of breath, increasing on exertion like walking or climbing stairs
  • Wheezing
  • Frequent coughing
  • Frequent phlegm or sputum production, especially in the morning
  • Uncomfortable tightness in the chest

Symptoms are progressive and increase slowly with time

What are the symptoms of severe COPD?

If not diagnosed early and effective treatment is not started, all patients will have worsening of symptoms – these become more severe.

  • Severe COPD patients are confined to home, even slight exertion make one breathless
  • They have swelling and blue discoloration of hands and feet
  • They sleep poorly
  • They suffer from poor nutrition
  • They are disabled and depressed

How is COPD diagnosed?

  • From your symptoms
  • The test for diagnosis is called SPIROMETRY, a lung function test. You are required to blow into a machine during the test.

What are the complications of COPD?

  • Many of these patients will also develop a heart disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Muscle weakness
  • Bone weakness
  • Frequent chest infections requiring antibiotics, and even hospitalization and ICU care

Can COPD be treated?

Until a few years ago, COPD used to be called an “irreversible” disease, i.e. it had no effective treatment.

However, now, much better treatment is available that can provide substantial relief in symptoms.

How is the medicine for COPD taken?

  • Most of the medicines for COPD are given using inhalers. Your doctor will train you on how to use an inhaler.
  • Other medicines are given as tablets.
  • The medicines are given according to the severity of your disease.

What is the treatment for severe COPD?

  • Combination of 3 or 4 medicines by inhalers
  • Antibiotics during infections
  • Steroids, inhaled and tablets
  • Use of oxygen at home
  • Use of a pressure machine (BiPAP)
  • Annual vaccination
  • Surgery in very selected cases

What is Pulmonary Rehabilitation?

It is a treatment, given along with medicines at all stages of COPD, by a trained therapist.

It includes exercise training, breathing exercises, walking training, nutritional advice and psychological counselling. Benefits are:

  • Reduces breathlessness
  • Improves exercise capacity
  • Reduces frequency of infections
  • Improves quality of life

Primus Chest Centre offers all facilities for management of COPD under renowned experts.

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