Exacerbation of COPD occurs due to several reasons. This article provides detailed information on the causes, symptoms, and treatment of COPD.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) is a lung disorder that occurs when airways in the lungs get blocked. It is a severe disorder, as during its onset, the lungs are nearer to getting damaged. This condition develops when a person suffers from emphysema, chronic bronchitis or chronic asthma (or chronic asthmatic bronchitis), i.e., either of the diseases. This respiratory disorder occurs when the airways lose elasticity which results in obstructed or blocked air flow.
Exacerbation of COPD
COPD is usually caused due to smoking, exposure to irritants, etc. Similar causes lead to worsening of the condition. It is observed that exposure to airborne pollutants or toxins, smoking, not responding to the drug therapy, etc., can lead to COPD exacerbation. Contracting viral or bacterial infections like common cold or flu, pneumonia or bronchitis can also aggravate the condition.
Signs and Symptoms
Severe shortness of breath or breathlessness is one of the major and easily identifiable symptoms. However, if severe signs and symptoms are observed, it is essential to look for quick and emergency medical treatment.
- Increased production of sputum
- Increases dyspnoea
- Wheezing/noisy breathing
- Chest tightness
- Sever cough
- Bluish tinge on nails
- Leg swelling
- Abdominal pain
- Fluid retention
As breathlessness or difficulty in breathing is one of the major symptoms, treatment methods are used to make breathing easier for the patient. The basic treatment includes use of corticosteroids and bronchodilators. They reduce the inflammation in the lungs and make easy air flow. Secondly, oxygen therapy is used on a large-scale to increase the amount of oxygen in the patient’s blood. When medication prove to be incapable of improving breathing, the doctor may prescribe mechanical methods to make breathing easier. Use of ventilators or masks helps in easy breathing. If the condition is caused due to bacterial infections, the doctor may also prescribe antibiotics.
It should be noted that frequent exacerbation of the disease can reduce life expectancy, and hence, precautions must be taken in order to prevent it. People diagnosed with COPD should stay away from smoking (even passive smoking as it is equally dangerous). Secondly, they should try to stay away from pollution, exposure to harmful chemicals as much as possible. Undergoing vaccination programs for flu, pneumonia, etc., is necessary to prevent aggravation of this condition. Having a balanced diet and undertaking breathing exercises regularly helps in enhancing immunity which consequently helps in prevention of the disease
It should be noted that COPD can be life-threatening if not identified and treated at the right time. Lastly, as there are preventive measures associated with it, one should follow them to avoid flaring up of the disease. Take care!
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and does not, in any way, intend to replace the advice of a medical professional.