Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) makes it hard for you to breathe. Coughing up mucus is often the first sign of COPD. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are common COPDs.In COPD, your airways and air sacs lose their shape and become floppy, like a stretched-out rubber band. Cigarette smoking is the most common cause of COPD. Breathing in other kinds of irritants, like pollution, dust or chemicals, may also cause or contribute to COPD. Quitting smoking is the best way to avoid developing COPD.Treatment can make you more comfortable, but there is no cure. With chronic bronchitis the lining of the breathing tubes become swollen and produces a lot of mucus that gets coughed up. With emphysema the walls of the air sacs in the lung are broken down and the air spaces get larger, and air gets trapped. Some people have both chronic bronchitis and emphysema, so we now prefer to call the disease COPD.A small number of people have a rare form of COPD called alpha-1 (AAT) related emphysema. This form of COPD is caused by an inherited lack of a protective protein in the blood. Signs and symptoms of COPD include Constant coughing, sometimes called “smoker’s cough”, shortness of breath while doing everyday activities, producing a lot of sputum (also called phlegm or mucus), feeling like you can’t breathe or take a deep breath &wheezing. Quittingsmoking, taking your medicine, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation & surgery are some of the ways to treat COPD.
What are the signs and symptoms of COPD?
- Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities.
- Chest tightness.
- Having to clear your throat first thing in the morning, due to excess mucus in your lungs.
- A chronic cough that may produce mucus (sputum) that may be clear, white, yellow.
What tests diagnose COPD?
- Overview. A diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is based on your signs and symptoms, history of exposure to lung irritants (such as smoking), and family history.
- Bronchodilator reversibility test.
- Blood tests.
- Genetic testing.
- Chest X-ray or CT scan.
- Sputum examination.
Things you can do to reduce your risk of lung diseases include:
- Stop smoking
- Avoid second-hand smoke
- Test for radon
- Avoid asbestos
- Protect yourself from dust and chemical fumes
- Eat a healthy diet
- Ask your doctor if you should have a spirometry test
- Ask your doctor about protecting yourself from flu and pneumonia with vaccinations
- See your doctor