Chronic Bronchitis And COPD
What is Chronic Bronchitis And COPD ?
Chronic bronchitis and COPD is very common disorder in Indian population. We see smokers, non-smokers and females, with prolonged complaints of dyspnoea on exertion, walking into our Outpatient department. A simple history and clinical examination can establish the diagnosis easily.
What are the warning signs of a COPD ?
Shortness of breath: A person experiencing a COPD exacerbation may feel breathlessness or shortage of air. If this feeling worsens even when at rest or with little physical activity, you need to see a doctor.
- Noisy breathing: With a COPD exacerbation, wheezing, whistling, gurgling, or rattling sounds may accompany breathing.
- Increased anxiety: Oxygen is vital for everyone. If you feel like you are not getting enough oxygen and start to panic, the anxiety can aggravate your breathing ability as you tense up.
- Chest breathing: During a COPD exacerbation, a person may breathe from the chest instead of the abdomen. Breathing may become more irregular, and chest may move up and down more quickly.
- Cough: A COPD exacerbation can result in cough, which is more severe or frequent than usual. It could be a dry cough, or may bring up phlegm that is bloody, green or yellow.
- Changes in skin or nail colour: There may be noticeable changes in colour, such as a bluish tint around the lips. You may also notice blue or purple nails, or the skin may take on a sallow or grey tone.
- Difficulty sleeping and no interest in eating: The increased symptoms with a COPD exacerbation may interfere with the ability to sleep or eat.
- Lack of speech: If a person is having severe breathing difficulty, it might impair his ability To speak and tell others what is happening. He might to able to communicate only through hand gestures that he is in distress.
- Early morning headaches: COPD causes a build-up of carbon dioxide in the blood due to low levels of oxygen. This can result in morning headaches.
- Swelling in the ankles or legs or abdominal pain: These common COPD symptoms are associated with heart complications or irregularities caused by damage to the lungs.
Why is COPD done?
The goal of COPD treatment is to:
- Relieve symptoms
- Prevent complications and worsening of illness
- Improve health and exercise tolerance
What is included in COPD treatment ?
- Smoking cessation: Stopping smoking can help slow the decline in lung function.
- Oxygen therapy: When the lungs cannot function well, inhaled oxygen helps get enough oxygen into the blood to meet the body's needs
- Nutrition: COPD can make a person lose weight and subsequently lead to loss of muscle mass. An underweight person with COPD will have greater difficulty breathing
- Bronchodilators: These medications relieve symptoms, and improve airway obstruction and exercise capacity. They work by opening up the air passages and making it easier to breathe.
- Corticosteroids: These drugs, such as prednisone or budesonide, are used to reduce inflammation and to treat symptoms, especially symptoms of an exacerbation.
- Vaccines: COPD can flare up and worsen when you get sick, so it's important to get the flu shot and the pneumonia shot.
- Surgery: When medications prove ineffective, several surgeries, including lung transplantation, can reduce symptoms and hence improve a person's quality of life.
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics treat bacterial infections and are used primarily during and exacerbation.