"The essence of health is inner balance" - Andrew Weil

What is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a condition involving the lung’s airways and air sacs. Persons with COPD have chronic bronchitis and/or emphysema. Emphysema slowly destroys air sacs in your lungs, which obstructs outward air flow. Bronchitis causes inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes, which allows mucus to build up.

Possible Causes: 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is an ongoing lung disorder that makes it hard to breathe.

Some causes are:

  • Smoking and pollution in the air.
  • Genetically, an Alpha-1 Antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency creates a protein deficiency in your lungs.
  • Asthma is sometimes confused with COPD.

Risk Factors: 

Smoking appears to be the greatest risk factor for COPD. 

Other likely factors are:

  • Long hours working in a polluted environment where you’re bound to inhale dust, chemical fumes, or vapour.
  • Those already suffering from respiratory infections especially during childhood.

Signs & Symptoms: 

Tell-tale signs of COPD appear only when the disease has reached an advance stage. Some chronic obstructive pulmonary disease symptoms are:

  • Coughing all the time.
  • Bringing up phlegm while coughing.
  • Feeling tired and listless.
  • Wheezing and shortness of breath.
  • Blue lips or fingernails in severe cases.

Diagnosis: 

The specialist at Medcare will first check your medical history and ask you whether you have difficulty in breathing, whether you cough all the time, if there is phlegm and tightness in your chest. A chest examination using a stethoscope will be conducted while you breathe in and out. 

Some tests that are recommended before commencing medication:

  • Spirometry, which is a common lung function test. This is especially useful in cases where COPD symptoms are not noticeable yet.
  • Chest X-ray helps the doctor isolate the issue from other diseases such as pneumonia, cancer, and heart failure.
  • Chest CT scan provides detailed images of your chest to assist diagnosis.
  • Arterial blood gas test to check the levels of oxygen and carbon-dioxide in it.
  • Some special test that may be needed such as Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency Testing (AAT) for a protein found in your lungs and blood.

Treatment Options: 

Visit Medcare for the best chronic obstructive pulmonary disease treatment options.

Getting back to normalcy and breathing comfortably is our objective when treating COPD. Treatment may include:

  • Bronchodilators are taken through inhalers. They relax the muscles around your airways, making breathing easier. Short-acting bronchodilators provide relief quickly, while long-acting bronchodilators can relieve constriction for a long time and are also used regularly as a preventive. 
  • Corticosteroids help reduce mucus production and inflammation in your lungs, making breathing easier.
  • Pneumococcal vaccine is recommended each year as it protects you against seasonal influenza and pneumonia.
  • Antibiotics to clear bacterial infections as these can aggravate your COPD.  
  • Finally, eating a nutritious, balanced diet, and being physically active.

At Medcare we have pulmonary rehabilitation which encompasses exercise, disease management, nutrition, and therapy to help you feel better and healthier.

FAQs:الأسئلة الشائعة:
  • How does COPD affect my lungs?

    A: When you have COPD, your lungs don't work, normally. Due to swelling and mucus in the alveoli, which are tiny sacs in the lungs, the lungs are not able to push out the stale air and you do not receive enough fresh oxygen.

  • What are bronchodilators?

    A: Bronchodilators are taken in through inhalers and their function is to relax the muscles around your airways to let more air into your lungs. 

    This provides relief when you have shortness of breath. Short-acting bronchodilators are used only when you experience symptoms of COPD as they work quickly. Long-acting bronchodilators are used every day to prevent symptoms. These bring down swelling in your airways.

  • How can I reduce my chances of getting COPD?

    A: Firstly avoid smoking! Avoid breathing in fumes, dust and smoke. Check if any family member has AAT deficiency. You can breathe better with lifestyle changes and medicines.