Our lungs are the organs where we breathe and exhale. It takes oxygen from the air and carries it to our blood. In this way, our organs and our entire body receive oxygen. It also cleans dirty blood and releases carbon dioxide. It performs this important task continuously, without stopping or resting, just like our heart. However, it may be negatively affected by some environmental factors. We can strain this precious organ knowingly or unknowingly or without our control. COPD, which is a chronic obstructive disease of the lung, is the abbreviation of ‘Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease’.
1. Smoking: The most common cause of COPD is smoking, or rather tobacco use. Since cigarettes are the most frequently consumed cigarette, they are often mentioned. Cigarette smoke irritates the lungs and causes damage.
2. Air pollution: Living in areas with poor air quality, especially with polluted air in big cities, can increase the risk of COPD.
3. Occupational exposure: The risk of this disease is high in people who work in some professions and are frequently exposed to harmful substances such as industrial dust, chemicals or smoke.
4. Genetic factors: Genetic predisposition may also affect the risk of COPD.
5. Recurrent respiratory infections: Chronic bronchitis, asthma and frequent respiratory infections may play a role in the development of COPD.
1. Shortness of breath: Shortness of breath, which increases especially with movement, is observed. Over time, this shortness of breath also occurs while talking or at rest.
2. Cough: There is a chronic cough that is especially evident in the mornings.
3. Sputum production: Sputum is produced along with the cough, and the color and consistency of the sputum changes depending on the course of exacerbation of the disease.
4. Chest tightness or wheezing: A wheezing or whistling sound may be heard when breathing.
5. Increase in respiratory rate: There is rapid and superficial breathing.
6. Fatigue and weakness: There is a general feeling of weakness and tiredness.
Prevention and treatment:
1. Quitting smoking: If you smoke, you should quit smoking to reduce the risk of COPD and prevent the progression of the disease.
2. Avoiding air pollution and protecting from occupational risks: One should be careful while walking and working in areas where air pollution is intense, and use a mask or similar protective equipment.
3. Exercise and healthy diet: Physical activity and a healthy diet improve overall health and can help manage COPD.
4. Drug treatment: Some bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed by the doctor may help control the symptoms.
5. Respiratory therapy: It is a treatment method to improve respiratory functions with breathing exercises and taught techniques.
6. Vaccinations: Vaccines against respiratory infections such as flu and pneumonia can reduce the risk of complications for COPD patients.
COPD treatment requires a multidisciplinary approach. Since every patient is different, the treatment plan should be determined individually.