COPD is the disease in which there is airway obstruction, which does not change significantly over several months and it is not reversible unlike asthma reversed. This disease is suspected in the patients who are over 40 years of age, who present with symptoms of cough for a long time and with sputum production and with breathlessness. COPD includes:
- Chronic bronchitis: A condition where there is a chronic cough and phlegm is present.
- Emphysema: In this destruction and enlargement of lung alveoli occurs.
- Small airway disease: In this small bronchioles are narrowed.
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is present only if there is chronic airflow obstruction arises, in this entity chronic bronchitis without chronic airflow obstruction is not involved.
Risk factors of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease):
- Smoking: It depends on how much cigarette is smoked per year it is called pack-years (average number of cigarette packs smoked per day multiplied by the total number of years of smoking) generally it is unusual to develop COPD with less than 10 pack years.
- Biomass fuel fires.
- Airway hyperresponsiveness, it means the tendency for increased bronchoconstriction in response to exogenous stimuli, like found in asthma.
- Low birth weight, it may reduce the complete attainment of lung function in young adults.
- Air pollution.
- Childhood infections and the child whose mother is a smoker may affect the growth of the lung of the child in his/her childhood.
- Occupational exposures, like the workers who work in paint industries, in the factories where cadmium is used, where there are dust, coal and gold mining, textile dust.
What happens to the respiratory symptom in patients suffering from COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease):
- Mucus secreting glands get enlarged and also there is increased in goblet cells in the larger airways which due to their enlargement leads to increased secretion of airway mucus, like as in chronic bronchitis.
- There is a loss of elastic tissues that surrounds the smaller airways, which is presented with fibrosis and inflammation in the wall of the airway and accumulation of mucus within the lumen of the airway results in obstruction of the airway.
- The premature closure of the airway leads to trapping of gas and leads to hyperinflation, which causes a decrease in compliance of both pulmonary and the chest wall.
- Flattening of diaphragmatic muscles occurs in COPD.
Symptoms of COPD:
- The most common symptoms of COPD are cough, production of sputum and difficulty in breathing during exertion (exertional dyspnoea).
- Cough with a small amount of mucoid sputum.
Acute exacerbations of COPD which is an emergency condition and needs immediate medical attention, this condition is identified by the increase in difficulty in breathing (Dyspnoea) cough, and the amount and character of sputum are changed.
- Measurement of lung volume by helium dilution technique.
- Body plethysmography.
- CT scan.
- X-ray gives no reliable sign in, it is done to identify another diagnosis like heart failure lung cancer, presence of large bullae.
- Smoking cessation is a must in COPD patients.
- Obesity, poor nutrition, depression should be identified, and if present must tackled accordingly.
- Removal of a causating factor in the workplace.
- The COPD patient should receive influenza vaccine annually.
- Pulmonary rehabilitation, improves the quality of life, difficulty in breathing, and the capacity to exercise.
- Homeopathic medicines provide good results in COPD patients, their gentle action combined with no side effect helps the patient to cope better with daily life activities. Homeopathic treatment helps to combat excess mucus production, decreases the incidence of exacerbations, and thus improves the quality of life.
Natural ways to fight against COPD:
- Vitamin D, Vitamin E and omega 3 fatty acids are very beneficial for COPD sufferers.
- Thyme, ginseng, curcumin, red sage, ginger with honey, and oregano are very beneficial in COPD.
- Eucalyptus can be used by first chopping its leaf and then boiling it in approx one cup of water, better to avoid oil of eucalyptus, for oral ingestion as it is poisonous.
- Protein-rich diet to be promoted in COPD like nuts, beans, fish, meat, eggs, cheese.
- Excess of salt to be avoided in COPD.
- FAD diet to be avoided in COPD.