Some symptoms of allergy especially those that are caused by airborne particles and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) are very much similar. Both allergies and COPD would mess up with the respiratory track, however, they have different methods of treatment.
To further educate you with allergy, COPD and other important details concerning it, here are some important tips every concerned individual must know.
What Is COPD?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder refers to chronic bronchitis and emphysema, two diseases that would co-exist in the lungs that would cause the airways to narrow. The narrowing of the airways would limit the flow of air inside the body causing the host shortness of breath.
This is commonly mistaken as asthma or other allergies because of very similar symptoms however, they are not the same. Unlike asthma, the limitation of airflow is irreversible and symptoms of COPD are most likely to worsen progressively over time.
Causes Of COPD
COPD is caused by harmful gases or airborne particles of which an individual would inhale. The most common cause of COPD is smoking since it weakens the immune system and would trigger an inflammatory response in the lungs. This inflammatory response refers to chronic bronchitis which is one of two diseases that consists of COPD.
Another inflammatory response would destroy lung tissue, this which is known as emphysema. This is characterized by the loss of elasticity in the lungs, making it less able to serve it purpose which is to pump air inside the body. With the two diseases co-existing, that would refer to COPD.
An allergy on the other hand is not that serious most of the time. An allergy occurs when an individual, who happens to be allergic, gets in contact with a substance that would make his or her body react in an unlikely manner. That substance which would cause allergies is known as an allergen.
Symptoms of allergies would range from mild to severe. The most common cases of allergies would show itchiness, constant coughing, runny nose, and dryness in various parts of the body. Cases that are more severe would be similar to those symptoms of COPD which mostly would involve difficulty in breathing.
Treatment For Allergies
Currently, there is no known cure for allergies. Medications that are available are only for relieving an individual for symptoms and not for increasing his or her tolerance for allergens. Medications would still provide a lot of help as it is inevitable at time for an allergic individual to get in contact with allergens.
The best way to avoid allergic symptoms is to simply avoid the allergens as much as possible. However if one could already be experiencing the symptoms of an allergy, then that would be the time to seek the help of medications, these commonly come in antihistamines and hydrocortisones. Take note that visiting a doctor no matter how mild the symptoms may be is still the best thing to do.
How Is COPD Diagnosed?
Anyone who has shortness of breath, constant coughing, sputum production and a history of smoking should urgently have a doctor test him or her for COPD. Currently, there is not single symptom that can conclude the presence of COPD, it is however uncommon for individuals under the age of 40.
Spirometry is a test that could confirm if an individual has COPD. This test measures breathing, particularly with the amount of air breathed in and out and uses that information to conclude if an individual is positive for COPD. Other tests for COPD would include having a chest x-ray which can see hyperinflation in the lungs and having a blood sample taken from your artery and testing it for blood gas levels.
How Is COPD Treated?
COPD can be avoided in the first place by avoidance of the factors that can cause it, most importantly smoking. However, if an individual already has it, treatment is still available although there is reportedly a very small number of individuals who have fully recovered from it.
Medications that are available would include ß2 agonists and anticholinergics which cause the smooth muscles on airways to relax. Corticosteroids act to reduce inflammation in the airways allowing the host to be able to breathe in more air. For serious cases of COPD, one would need surgery for it to be corrected.