Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive lung condition that makes it difficult to breathe. COPD can be caused by long-term exposure to irritants such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, and chemical fumes or dust from industries.
Other risk factors for developing COPD include age itself. Those over 65 are more likely to develop this condition than younger individuals due to changes in lung tissue with aging.
Symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
The main symptom associated with COPD is shortness of breath, which can be exacerbated by activities like walking up stairs or even just carrying out everyday tasks around the home such as vacuuming or gardening.
Coughing may also occur along with an increase in mucus production, it can lead to further difficulty breathing if not managed properly through medications prescribed by your doctor.
In severe cases, chest tightness and wheezing may be present too, indicating advanced stages of disease progression and requiring immediate medical attention.
How COPD is Diagnosed
The first step in diagnosing COPD is typically an assessment of your symptoms and medical history by your doctor or healthcare provider.
Your doctor will ask questions about when you started experiencing symptoms, if anyone else in your family has had similar issues, whether you smoke or have been exposed to secondhand smoke regularly etc.
The next step would involve a physical examination, including listening to breathing sounds with a stethoscope and measuring oxygen levels through pulse oximetry testing. These tests help identify any blockages within the lungs, which are characteristic signs associated with COPD patients.
Finally, imaging tests such as chest X-rays or CT scans may be ordered depending on the results of earlier assessments. It provide useful information regarding changes in the size, shape, and structure of the lungs affected by prolonged exposure, leading to the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
COPD Treatment options
Treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease typically includes lifestyle modifications such as quitting smoking, avoiding environmental triggers like pollution, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, etc.
All these measures must be strictly followed so that you can reduce symptoms while living with this condition. With proper management, many people find they can still live active lives despite having a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Signs Your COPD Getting worse
1) More frequent or severe shortness of breath: Shortness of breath is one symptom associated with COPD. If your episodes become more frequent or more intense than usual, it could be a sign that the disease has progressed further.
2) Coughing up blood: While some people with COPD may experience occasional bouts of coughing up phlegm or mucus-tinged pink from small amounts of blood in their airways. If this becomes persistent, it could signal something more serious, such as an infection like pneumonia, which needs immediate treatment to prevent further damage to the lungs.
3) Increased fatigue: Are you feeling tired all day despite not doing much physical activity? This may also indicate deteriorating health due to worsening cases of COPD progression and should not be ignored as it may lead to more serious consequences if left untreated for an extended time.
4) Chest tightness: Does it feel like something is stuck in your chest when you breathe deeply? This sensation indicates increased inflammation in the bronchial tubes caused by narrowing airways due to excess mucus production—a sign commonly seen among those suffering from advanced stages of COPD.
5) Swelling around ankles: Fluid accumulation around ankles might seem minor but should not be ignored as it’s indicative of fluid buildup in the lungs and heart caused by an advanced stage of the condition, which can impact your breathing functionality significantly if left untreated.
With proper management strategies implemented into daily routines along with ongoing medical supervision from healthcare providers, elderly individuals diagnosed with the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can greatly reduce complications associated with the disease.
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