November 2018 marks COPD Awareness Month, an internationally-recognized annual event to raise the exposure of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

If you are concerned you might have COPD, please contact your doctor today.


 

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

COPD describes a group of obstructive lung conditions, characterized by increasing breathlessness due to the airways narrowing.

Living with COPD can be a real challenge, finding what were once simple tasks, such as going up the stairs, a real challenge.

But millions of people across the UK are completely unaware that they have COPD – struggling without treatment, believing it just to be a symptom of getting older.

 

Causes

A variety of risks and hazards can lead to COPD. One of the largest factors is smoking; but other potential causes include: air pollution, genetics and occupational exposure.

Exposure to hazardous airborne irritants such as dusts, chemicals and fumes all dramatically increase the risk of COPD and are believed to account for up to 20% of all cases.

In most cases, it’s believed that COPD could have been prevented if steps were taken to reduce exposure to risk factors – by stopping smoking or minimizing exposure to hazarodous irritants through proper air ventilation and the use of respirators for example.

However, once developed, COPD is a progressive disease and there is no cure.

 

Signs and Symptoms

Shortness of breath and even coughing could be signs of COPD. If caught early, symptoms of COPD can be well managed. Therefore it is important to talk with your doctor as soon as you notice any of the symptoms below.

In some cases however, COPD can progress for years without any noticeable symptoms.

Common symptoms include:

  • Increased shortness of breath, particularly when active
  • Frequent phlegmy cough
  • Persistent wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest

 

Managing COPD

While there currently is no cure for COPD, symptoms and progression can be delayed with the right treatments.

These include:

  • Stopping smoking – which decreses the risk of death from COPD by 18%
  • Supplementary oxygen – to help get clean air into your lungs
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation – a specialised programme of exercise and education
  • The flu vaccination – to prevent conditions, such as influenza, worsening or complicating your situation.
  • Lung surgery/transplantation – while this can be effective, it is only suitable for a small number of people.

 

Chris’ Story

In the video above, Chris speaks to the British Lung Foundation about his experiences living with COPD, how he uses oxygen to manage his condition and what support he gets from local healthcare providers.

 


For more information about COPD, please visit the British Lung Foundation’s website: https://www.blf.org.uk/copdday

 

 

7 COMMENTS

  1. At age 29 I was diagnosed with Bronchitis. At that time I had been a smoker for at least for 2 year. My doctor admonished me that if I didn’t quit, the bronchitis could turn into COPD. I had not quit and by the time I was 41, I was diagnosed of COPD. I had severe shortness of breath after energetic activity; even just climbing stairs, wheezing, fatigue and tightness of the chest. I was on Advair and albuteral inhaler. I even used Prima Tene Mist inhaler, but nothing really made me feel better. About two years ago, I began to do a lot of research and learnt about a COPD TREATMENT from Rich Herbs Foundation and their success rate with the treatment,i immediately started on the treatment, i started experience reduction/decline in major symptoms, including the shortness of breath, fatigue, cough and wheezing. Its been over 1 years since treatment, i feel great and breath well

  2. I had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for 7 years. My first symptoms were dry cough, chest tightness and shortness of breath. My first chest x-ray only showed bronchitis. Finally I went to a pulmonologist and was diagnosed with COPD,i never thought i could cope

  3. I have all the symptoms of emphysema and chronic bronchitis; chest tightness and back pain, coughing blood, shortness of breath when I exercise, and always tired. Overinflated lungs is all that shows on x-ray but I cannot get diagnosed with anything, and cannot get the right medication. My symptoms get worse when I go the city with the smog and near the ocean and gas heaters and cooking smells. So as you can imagine, everyone tells me it is in my head; definitely not. I have been perfectly fine up until 4 years ago when all this started. I don’t know where to turn to next. I had bronchoscopy, CT chest scan, MRI of back (for the pain); my symptoms just are not getting better. I have seen 3 respiratory doctors and all say there is no cure, I cannot work out what’s happening.

  4. I was diagnosed with COPD stage 2, five years ago now. I moved to Wales 3 years ago in the hope my health would improve. I am now 66. I also had a triple heart bypass 10 years ago, which doesn’t help!
    I often get headaches and migraines and can’t walk upstairs without getting out of breath. Even small exertions sometimes make my breathing bad.

  5. I was diagnosed of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in 2012 at the age of 63. I had been a heavy smoker, my symptoms started out with dry cough and shortness of breath, i ended up in the hospital. I should have known it was coming, but like most smokers, thought it would never happen to me.

  6. I’ve had COPD for 9 years. My first symptoms were dry cough, chest tightness and shortness of breath. My first chest x-ray only showed bronchitis. Finally I went to a pulmonologist and was diagnosed with COPD.

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