Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD definition) is insidious slowly progressive disease, as a result because of the prolonged inflammation process patency of the bronchi worsens, respiratory failure increases, and lung tissues begin to break down. Usually such inflammation in the respiratory system is caused by the long inhalation of harmful irritating chemicals, particles of dust, and more often - cigarette smoke. Therefore, most of all the disease is common among smokers with the experience of a bad habit of 10 years or more.
COPD emphysema is classified by severity (4 stages) of the disease. Separating signs that allow to evaluate the stage - it is the severity of the illness. First stage: easy COPD. At this stage, the patient may not notice that a lung function is violated. Violations of obstructive character are slightly pronounced. Often, but not always, COPD can manifest a chronic cough, which is why such a disease is diagnosed in time very rarely. Second step: moderate. This stage is characterized by patients appeal for medical aid due to the worsening of the disease or shortness of breath, there is an increase in obstructive disorders. Symptoms and shortness of breath that occur during exercise are increased. The third stage: severe COPD. It is characterized by an increase in airflow limitation, increasing breathlessness, frequent exacerbations. The fourth stage: It is hard stage. The human condition is much worse, and there are acute life-threatening. Illness becomes a debilitating course. There is very severe airflow obstruction. At this stage, there is the development of pulmonary heart disease.
What are COPD causes?
To date, 90% of COPD deaths are observed in middle- and low-income countries where the impact of policies on combating and preventing such disease is not always carried out (or not available). COPD is a preventable disease. The main cause is tobacco smoke, as well as so-called passive smoking. There are still other causes of illness: indoor air pollution (due to the use of solid fuels for cooking and space heating); air pollution; the presence of chemicals and dust in the workplace (vapors, irritants, smoke); in childhood lower respiratory tract infections (asthma, bronchitis symptoms).
Which COPD symptoms do you have?
The most common sign is shortness of breath (feeling of shortage of air), chronic cough and sputum pathological. As soon as the disease develops gradually, the daily physical activity can significantly hinder.
- Coughing is one of the early symptoms of disease. Light cough is often not taken seriously, patients think that this is a common consequence of smoking. In the early stages it has episodic character. When the disease flows into a chronic form, the cough becomes almost substantially continuous, including at night.
- Sputum is accompanied by a small discharge of phlegm. Abundant and purulent sputum may appear in the acute form of the disease.
- Shortness of breath is the most recent symptom, which occurs after 10 years after the onset of the first symptoms of COPD. Shortness of breath occurs only in acute respiratory diseases, or a significant physical activity.
The duration of life with COPD
How long does person live with COPD, and what determines the prognosis for the health and life? The reduction in COPD life expectancy of people is primarily due to delayed diagnosis. Timely diagnosis is observed only in every fourth patient. With COPD it is a high percentage of premature death. The prognosis of this disease of the respiratory is conditionally unfavorable, as the disease progresses steadily and eventually leads to disability in the absence of adequate therapy. With timely and continuous treatment patient can prolong the period of remission up to a year or more. Such patients can live a very long time. If you have disease quality of life deteriorates. Greater efforts are needed even the most basic activities (getting dressed, taking a shower, cleaning). All patients are living in different ways. Some may live decades, while others only a few years. There are factors that worsen the prognosis for survival. These include the presence of right heart hypertrophy, a significant increase in pressure in the pulmonary trunk, low oxygen tension in the blood, heart rate, severity of hypoxemia.
Main COPD treatment methods
The disease itself is extremely complicated and destructive processes are partially irreversible, successful therapy can only be comprehensive. It is particularly important to exclude the main reason of the disease - the stimulus, provoking inflammation and aggravation. People can also be assigned COPD medications cure, oxygen therapy, special rehabilitation complex exercise. Removing the cause of the disease, such as smoking or factors of production is a necessary treatment step for combination therapy. In the most severe and advanced cases, sometimes surgery is indicated, in which individual areas of the affected lung is removed in order to reduce breathlessness and optimization status. For the treatment of obstructive pulmonary disease patients are generally assigned drugs having bronchodilatory action (Atrovent, Flovent, Combivent, Serevent, Spiriva, Ventolin, Theophylline, Xopenex and many others). As a result of this treatment shortness of breath decreases, the inhaled air amount increases. Furthermore, such preparations inhibit inflammatory processes in the lung and bronchi. The exact choice of the medicine should be carried out by a specialist taking into account the state of the patient in each case. In COPD exacerbation of the disease hormonal drugs are shown in the treatment. Glucocorticosteroids (Pulmicort, Symbicort, Advair, Flovent, Nasonex, etc.) are assigned usually by courses at 10-14 days, may be used for inhalation and in the form of tablets, etc. The indications for antibiotics (Suprax, Amoxicillin, Biaxin, Ceclor, Cephalexin, Erythromycin, Zithromax, Omnicef and so on) in patients undergoing exacerbation of illness are increased dyspnea, increased sputum and its purulent character. Mucolytic means help to loose viscous sputum and make it easier to cough up. Oxygen therapy is usually assigned in addition to medical treatment, and also for a long period. Its essence lies in the artificial oxygen injected into the body. This also helps to reduce shortness of breath and other symptoms of lung obstruction, improving the overall health of patients. After the intensive care patients are often prescribed rehabilitation measures - spa treatment, physiotherapy, therapeutic exercises. People are also given advice for the prevention of weight loss and muscle mass, and are assigned a high-calorie diet with a high content of protein.
Complications and consequences
COPD is a disease with a steady progression, which may lead to the following complications:
- respiratory failure;
- pulmonary hypertension;
- chronic pulmonary heart;
- chronic heart failure;
- atrial fibrillation - heart rhythm disturbances.