What Is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?
A person affected by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) finds it difficult to breathe.Prolonged smoking damages the lungs.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a combination of two diseases:
- Chronic bronchitis means the airways that take air to the lungs (bronchial tubes) become inflamed and produces more mucus. As a result of this, the airways become narrow, and breathing process gets complicated.
- Emphysema is a condition in which the air sacs get damaged and cannot stretch. Usually, the air sacs in lungs stretch like balloons. Due to emphysema the air that travels in and out of the lungs become slow and leads to breathing shortage.
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease worsens over the time and the damage caused to lungs cannot be reversed. But you can act quickly to prevent further damage and make yourself comfortable while breathing.
What Are The Symptoms Of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease symptoms never appear till the lung gets damaged to some extent. But once it starts getting affected, the deterioration will happen quickly. Especially continuous smoking will worsen the condition. The main symptom of chronic bronchitis indicates a daily cough and formation of mucus (sputum) every three months in a year for more than two years consistently.
More Symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease are as follows:
- Breath shortness particularly at the time of doing physical activities.
- Gasping for breath.
- Tightness felt in the Chest.
- Regular cleaning of the throat due to the formation of mucus in the lungs.
- White, yellow, or green coloured mucus produced at the time of coughing.
- Fingernail beds and lips become blue.
- Repeated respiratory attack.
- Unexplained weight loss (in later stages).
- Leg, feet or ankle swells.
People suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease also experience exacerbations, meaning some days symptoms get worse than other days and last for many days.Some sudden trigger can worsen the disease and may lead to the chronic condition.
What Are The Causes Of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?
Some of the factors that may cause Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease are as follows:
Tobacco Smoking causes Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in developed countries. But in the developing countries, along with smoking, fumes also from burning fuel in homes and industries lead to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Up to twenty to thirty percent of persistent smokers develop clinically apparent Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Most of the smokers with smoking histories for many years might produce a reduction in lung function. Some of them develop a less frequent lung conditions. Without thorough evaluation, it’s hard to diagnose Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Know how lungs get affected
Via two large tubes called bronchi, the air travels down into the windpipe called trachea. The tubes get further divided into many branches like tree branches inside the lungs. The smaller tubes called as (bronchioles) and they end in a collection of tiny air sacs called alveoli.
The alveoli have a thin wall made up of small blood vessels called capillaries. The oxygen passes through the capillaries and reaches the bloodstream during the inhaling process. Simultaneously, the carbon dioxide comes out during the exhaling process.
The natural flexibility of the air sacs and bronchial tubes pushes air out of the body. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease makes the air sacs and tubes lose their flexibility. This leads to some air getting trapped in the lungs while exhaling.
Lack Of Alpha-1-Antitrypsin Protein
Close to one percent of the population gets affected by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease may result due to the inherited disorder. The lowering level of alpha-1-antitrypsin protein happens due to a genetic disorder. Liver prepares the Alpha-1-antitrypsin and secretes into the bloodstream. Thereby, protect the lungs. Lack of Alpha-1-antitrypsin protein will affect not only the liver but also the lungs. Such damage affects both children and adults due to passive smoking.
For adults with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease due to lack of Alpha-1-antitrypsin protein can be treated the same way others get treatment for the disease. Along with that replacing Alpha-1-antitrypsin protein can protect lungs from further damage.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?
Certain things that should be kept in mind to treat and prevent Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease are as follows:
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease patients must maintain a healthy weight according to their height. Either obese or a fragile body structure will affect equally. Heavyweight will lead to obesity and puts pressure on lungs preventing normal breathing. Underweight will weaken your immune system, and you will get affected easily by any lung disease leading to the development of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
Aim at a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise on a daily basis when you suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Consult a doctor to know the right kind of exercise.
Humidifiers help to get rid of dryness from the air and protect the tissues in the bronchial from drying. Moist air will loosen the mucus and make it easier to cough up.
- Perform Breathing Exercises
Talk to a medical practitioner and regularly perform breathing exercises. Breathing control techniques strengthen the lungs and ease shortness of breath.
People suffering from it also suffer from sleeping problems like hypoventilation or sleep apnea. Use a mask to have a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, and this is called as CPAP therapy.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?
Some of the don’ts that should be kept in mind:
Carry your inhaler with you always to avoid an awkward situation.
As a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease sufferer, you must remove your excess mucus from your chest as it leads to coughing. When you use cough syrups to suppress your cough, it will build up mucus and make you susceptible to infections.
- Don’t get exposed to pollutants.
Try and stay away from any smoke and pollution. Don’t use spray products like air fresheners, deodorants, perfumes, and cleaning sprays. Try to stay away from traffic smoke, fire fumes, chemical smoke, and passive smoking.
What Are The Best Foods For Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?
The nutrients that one must include in their diet when suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease are as follows:
Protein plays a vital role in protecting the body and fights infection. Due to insufficient intake of protein, lung’s functioning ability will reduce defending mechanism. Include food rich in protein such as dairy products, poultry, eggs, fish, and meat.
Diuretic medication is prescribed for every Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease sufferer to balance the fluids in the body. Due to continuous consumption of diuretic medicines, potassium level reduces. Balanced potassium level is required for the proper functioning of muscles. Lack of potassium will lead to fatigue and muscle cramps. Eat more potassium-rich foods including tuna, pistachios, salmon, banana, broccoli, yoghurt, and squash. Also, have a word with your physician to understand any effect that potassium could cause to your body.
- Calcium & Vitamin D rich foods:
When diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, you must take good care of your bone health. Otherwise, you may quickly develop osteoporosis. In turn, osteoporosis leads to fractures and bone breakage. Consume a minimum of 3 and a half eight-ounce glass of low-fat milk on a daily basis to prevent osteoporosis.
Herring, tuna, and Salmon contain more Vitamin D. Vitamin D in the body helps to increase calcium absorption. Include milk products like cheese and yoghurt for both calcium and vitamin D supplement.
What Are The Worst Foods For Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?
Some of the food items and nutrients that should be cut down from one’s diet if he/she is suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease are as follows:
More sodium in diet will lead to retention of water in the body and disturbs the breathing pattern. Reduce salt intake directly and indirectly. Use more unsalted spices and herbs. Check the food label before buying any canned food. Limit sodium to 300 – 600 milligrams per serving.
At the end of the oesophagus, a ring of the valve is formed. Due to improper locking of the valve, the acid in the stomach moves to the oesophagus. This causes heartburn, and common heartburn frequently occurring during the week indicates acid reflux disease. People suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease will find acid reflux increasing their current symptoms. Make sure you don’t consume acidic food and drinks. Spicy foods, coffee, tomato sauce, citrus fruits, and juices must be strictly avoided.
Just prohibit consuming aerated drinks. They just have loads of sugar and empty calories. Due to carbonation, they lead to add weight to your body. Increase in weight and bloating worsens the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease condition. The more pressure put on the lungs will put you in breathing problem. Forget about beer, wine, and all drinks leading to dehydration. Only drink water and keep yourself hydrated.
Bacon, hot dogs, ham, cold cuts, and cured meats contain nitrates. Nitrates improve the shelf life of food items but decrease your lifetime. Hence, avoid nitrate-rich food.
Bloating and Gas cause breathing process difficult for those who suffer from lung diseases. Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, radishes, broccoli, and cabbage have surplus fibre and nutrients. But they produce more gas and hence your lung condition you must stay away from those vegetables.
What Are The Medicines For Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?
What Are The Tips To Manage Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?
- Regularly practice breathing exercise.
- Go for a walk for a minimum of thirty minutes and get some fresh air.
- Drink more water and hydrate your body.