Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a general term that describes progressive lung ailments including; Refractory asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and other forms of bronchiectasis. In the early stages of such diseases, most people mistake the symptoms with a normal part of aging. In fact, you can develop Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) for several years without having a clue. Some signs of COPD include’ increased breathlessness, chest tightness, frequent coughing sometimes with sputum and wheezi
Reliable statistics estimate that COPD affects 30 million people in the United States and close to half of the affected people have no idea what they are suffering from. It is important to go for screening if you notice any of these symptoms since to avoid the major loss of lung function. Causes of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease include inhaling pollutants such as tobacco either directly or as second-hand smoke. Genetic factors are also a risk factor even if a person has never smoked. Chemicals, dust, and fumes in the environment can also increase the chances of developing COPD. It is estimated that globally around 3.17 million deaths were caused by COPD and that 90% of these occurred in low and mid-income countries.
How to Avoid Developing COPD
While there are genetic factors that are beyond our control, you can avoid the other risk factors to prevent developing COPD. Some effective preventative measures including:
If you have never smoked in your life then do not be tempted to start. It is important for parents and teachers to set a great example and start the conversation about the dangers of smoking at an early age so that kids do not succumb to peer pressure
If you are already a smoker, stopping immediately will help reduce your chances of developing lung cancer. For persons who have been smoking for years, it is advisable to seek your doctors advice about effective strategies that can aid it helping quit this highly addictive habit. Some viable options include support groups, nicotine replacement products, and medication.
Avoid second-hand smoke
If are living or working with a person or people who smoke, urge them to quit the habit or at the very least request them to smoke outside. Also, avoid areas where people generally smoke such as restaurants and bars. Always seek for smoke-free options
Avoid exposure to harmful pollutants while at work
It is advisable to take precautions to avoid exposure to toxic chemicals while at work. Always follow employer’s instructions strictly. For instance, when given a face mask for protection, wear it religiously. If you work in an environment where carcinogens are prevalent seek your doctors advise on how to protect yourself better.
Persons afflicted with COPD need to get a flu vaccine annually. This is because when a person with COPD gets the flu it can develop into something more serious really quickly such as Pneumonia. Additionally, regular flu vaccinations also help reduce the risks of COPD flare-ups.Another essential vaccination that people with COPD need is a pneumococcal vaccine to avoid getting pneumonia. Getting a shot can help ensure you don’t get too ill from pneumonia. Doctors recommend a single shot for people under the age of 65 while persons over 65 typically advised to get two different vaccines for pneumonia.
Another crucial vaccine for people suffering from COPD is Pertussis vaccine to prevent getting whooping cough. This is because whooping cough substantially elevates the chances of getting COPD flare-ups.
Get medical attention immediately you notice symptoms
If you notice any of the symptoms seek immediate medical attention. The treatment regimen mainly aims at slowing the decline of normal lung function, decreasing exacerbations and generally improving your quality of life. When on treatment, it is advisable to quit smoking and also avoid consistent exposure to lung irritants that can further aggravate the symptoms. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is easily avoidable if you don’t have the genetic predisposition to it. All you have to do is avoid the risk factors and this could ultimately save your life.