Save Your Breath

According to World Health Organization (WHO) Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a life-threatening lung disease that interferes normal breathing – it is more than a “smoker’s cough”.The primary cause of COPD is  tobacco  smoke(through tobacco use or second-hand smoke).Breathlessness is one of the most common signs of a serious lung disease,and this disease can lead to death.This disease is the fourth leading cause of death each year,claiming three million.In the past,these serious diseases that compromise lung function were diagnosed under their individual names,such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema.Now doctor’s diagnose them under an umbrella term-chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,or COPD.COPD is not curable, but treatment can slow the progress of the disease

ALARMING FINDINGS:

BOLD(Burden of Lung Disease),conducted a study and finds out that thier is 9000 COPD patients in 18 countries.Early results show that COPD exacts a heavier burden than what was initially thought-more people are actually afflicted with COPD-and is more prevalent than previously estimated.“An estimated  64 million people have COPD worldwide in 2004.Almost 90% of COPD deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.More than 3 million people died in COPD in 2005,which is equal to 5% of all deaths globally that year.The disease now affects men and women almost equally,due in part to increased tobacco use among women in high-income countries.Total deaths from COPD are projected to increase by more than 30% in the next 10 years without interventions to cut risks,particularly exposure to tobacco smoke”-WHO

DO YOU HAVE IT?

The most common risk factor of COPD is cigarette smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.Other risk factors include:

  • Indoor air pollution
  • Outdoor pollution
  • Occupational pollutants(Vapors,fumes,irritants)
  • Frequent lower respiratory tract infection
  • A family hisory of COPD
  • Breathlessness
  • Excessive sputum production
  • Chronic cough

Symptoms often develop after age of 40.If you have these symptoms,consult a doctor immediately to prevent further worsening of the disease.

THE GOOD NEWS

COPD is preventable and manageable,first:

  • Quit smoking and avoid exposure to secondhand smokers
  • Eliminate or minimize exposure to risk factors

Treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms,preventing the disease from progressing,improving to patients tolerance to physical activity and exercise,improving health status,preventing and treating complications. Medications,called bronchodilators help open the airways and allow easier breathing

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