Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a type of obstructive lung disease that is progressive, meaning the condition gets worse over time, and characterized by long-term poor airflow, making it hard for the person to breathe. This condition includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema (a condition where alveoli in your lungs is gradually damaged), refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis.
Smoking can be the primary cause of the condition of COPD. COPD can cause coughing that produces large amounts of mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, among many other symptoms. COPD can develop for years without much noticeable shortness of breath. The symptoms can only be usually seen in the more developed stages of the condition.
Causes of COPD
- Smoking and second hand smoke
- Dust and air pollution
- Occupational exposure
Symptoms of COPD
- Chronic cough
- Producing lot of sputum
- Shortness of breath while doing everyday activities (dyspnea)
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Blueness of the lips or fingernail beds (cyanosis)
COPD is a progressive disease, but adopting the right lifestyle can help prevent complications and slow the progress of the condition and stem additional deterioration of your health. The best practice to prevent COPD is to quit smoking, if you are a smoker, and also stay away from second hand smoke. It is also better to take preventive actions such as wearing a mask while going out so as to keep of air pollutants and dust from entering your body.