SMOKING IS the major cause of COPD. In the US, ninety percent of COPD cases are registered due to smoking. The other factors that contribute in COPD are breathing in polluted air, which consists of dust, chemicals or irritants.
These alveoli are springy and elastic in a healthy individual, and when they inhale the sacs fill up like a balloon and collapse after exhaling. But in a COPD patient the alveoli lose elasticity and the bronchioles collapse, which causes obstruction in air flow, as per the National Heart Lung and Blood institute, in India.
The common chronic obstructive pulmonary disease symptoms are dyspnea (breathlessness or shortness in breath), productive coughing and wheezing (hissing sound with breath). The severe COPD symptoms include the intervals between the episodes of dyspnea becoming shorter, Cyanosis (discolouration of the skin), anorexia and weight loss. Most of the people may have smoked for twenty or more years before they experience any symptoms, because the symptoms develop at a later stage, and can be diagnosed between the age of 40 to 50.
When you approach a physician with these symptoms then he will recommend that you undertake some tests such as chest x-ray, pulmonary function test, arterial blood gas test, a test to know the oxygen saturation rate in your blood, and a sample of sputum.
The goal of COPD treatment is to improve one's quality of living, the physician may give you some tips to quit smoking if you are a smoker, because it is an essential part of treatment. The transition period to quit smoking occurs in five stages namely precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance.
The medications used for COPD are:
Bronchodialators – Metered dose inhalers (MDI) are used to deliver bronchodialators. Albutrol inhaler is commonly used.
Beta agonists – albutrol, metaproterenol, pirbuterol, terbutalin, isoetharine and levalbuterol.
Anti-cholinergic agents – ipratropium bromide.
Methylxanthines – theophylline and aminophylline.
Corticosteroids – prednisone and prednisolone.