It is Not Too Late


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that makes breathing difficult. This is a life-threatening disease that exposes people to the risk of developing a heart disease or lung cancer over time. The two most common conditions that contribute to COPD are bronchitis (an inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes) and emphysema (a long-term, progressive disease of the lung that gradually damages the air sacs).
The primary cause of COPD is exposure to tobacco smoke and this includes second-hand and passive exposure.  Risk factors include exposure to occupational dusts and chemicals, frequent respiratory infections in childhood, fumes from cooking/heating in poorly ventilated homes and outdoor air pollution. 
Due to the ability of the lungs to accommodate some level of damage before it begins to produce symptoms, COPD is under-diagnosed as it is confused for other ailments. Symptoms are not observed until the lungs have suffered much damage. Symptoms include chest tightness, persistent cough that produces phlegm, wheezing, shortness of breath and tiredness. 

COPD can be prevented but cannot be cured. Majority of the cases are linked to smoking and the best way to prevent it is never to smoke or to stop smoking. Reducing exposure to all the risk factors can help to prevent it too. 
COPD is unique to each patient and should be treated as such. Treatment can slow the progression of the disease. Medications are available that help to dilate the passages of the lungs. Oxygen therapy helps to improve the blood-oxygen level. Vaccines can help the patients combat some illness (especially pneumonia and flu) which may worsen respiration and short-acting rescue inhalers may help to relieve sudden worse symptoms. Quitting smoking of tobacco is also a form of treatment. A healthy diet and special pulmonary rehabilitating exercises can help patients to cope with the disease.
  
Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi


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