Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
What is COPD?
COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and refers to several respiratory conditions which lead to difficulty in breathing such as bronchitis and emphysema.
What is Bronchitis?
Bronchitis refers to a condition where by sufferers have inflamed bronchi. Bronchi are the airway tubes which transport oxygen to the lungs, and when inflamed become narrower. This results in an increased production of mucus leading to difficulty in breathing and extra production of phlegm (thhok).
What is Emphysema?
Emphysema develops when the alveoli, which are the air sacs in the lungs used to transfer oxygen through to the blood stream, loose their elasticity and therefore shape. This reduces the amount of oxygen which is transferred into the blood stream and body leading to the sufferer experiencing shortness of breath.
What Causes COPD?
There are several known causes of COPD; one of the main causes is smoking. COPD mostly affects people over 35 who are or were heavy smoker. When people quit smoking they not only reduce their chances of developing COPD but if they have already been diagnosed it is likely to slow down the progress.
COPD can also develop from other factors such as chronic severe asthma, pollution, exposure to fumes or a genetic condition known as Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency.
What are the Symptoms of COPD?
Symptoms of COPD include a long-term cough, wheezing, excess production of phlegm and breathlessness.
When cases are severe the presence of breathlessness can prevent sufferers from carrying out their normal daily lives. Breathlessness can lead to anxiety, which if left for a long period coupled with the inability to carry out daily routines can lead to depression.
The British Lung Foundation provides free leaflets in Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi or Urdu on COPD.
(Information obtained from the British Lung Foundation)