There are countless people across the country who suffer from chronic respiratory diseases. One of the most common is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which is usually shortened to COPD. A lot of people assume that people who end up with COPD have a long smoking history and while this is sometimes the case, it is not universal. A significant number of people are living with symptoms of COPD and simply do not realize it. As a result, it is possible for people to have this condition for years and simply not have it diagnosed. Without a diagnosis, COPD might not be treated until it’s too late. Therefore, it is critical for everyone to detect the signs and symptoms of this disorder as early as possible.
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An Overview of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
First, it is important to understand what COPD is. This is a category of illnesses that encompasses a wide variety of breathing disorders. The common theme is that all of these disorders can obstruct the respiratory system. A few examples of disorders that fall under the category of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease include:
• Chronic bronchitis
• Certain types of asthma
It is true that a lot of people who are diagnosed with COPD have a significant history of smoking. On the other hand, it is also possible for people to develop Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease from their environment. For example, poor indoor air quality and a significant amount of air pollution can both lead to COPD.
In addition, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a disorder that can get worse over time. For example, if this is order goes unnoticed, it may go without proper treatment for several years. This means the symptoms will continue to get worse. On the other hand, if COPD is diagnosed quickly and treated appropriately, it is possible to manage the symptoms and improve someone’s overall quality of life.
The Symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Can Go Unnoticed
It is not unusual for people who suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease to believe they have a different disorder at first. That is because it is easy to confuse the symptoms of COPD with other respiratory conditions.
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A few common symptoms of COPD include:
• The development of shortness of breath that gets worse with physical activity
• A chronic cough that is sometimes unproductive in nature
• A feeling of tightness in the chest, as though someone is squeezing it
• The development of frequent, recurrent respiratory infections
• A constant need to clear mucus from the throat in the morning
A lot of people who have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease believe they have a cold, the flu, or some other type of respiratory condition that first. As a result, a lot of individuals who have COPD tend to overlook these symptoms. Eventually, the symptoms of COPD will get worse if the condition is not treated.
The Symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Can Get Worse
If COPD is not treated appropriately, the symptoms will get worse. Even though a lot of the symptoms described above could be mild, there are more serious symptoms as well. For example, it is possible for individuals to develop unexplained weight loss. With COPD, the body may not be getting the oxygen are required. As a result, a lot of its cells will start to die, leading to weight loss. It is also possible for people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease to develop trouble breathing, particularly when they are in certain situations. Finally, it is also possible for people with COPD to have trouble completing their daily routines, as shortness of breath will progress from being present only with extreme levels of physical activity to being present all the time.
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When this condition reaches its severe stage, the nail beds may change shape and develop a bluish tinge, which is a sign of severe oxygenation issues. Fortunately, there are treatment options available for those who are diagnosed early.
There Are Treatment Options Available
Anyone who is showing any of the symptoms above has to reach out for help as quickly as possible. Even though it can be distressing to have difficulty breathing, there are treatment options available for those who seek help from a trained medical professional. For example, the first step is to accurately diagnose Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. This could involve a chest x-ray, a CT scan, a pulmonary function test series, or a blood gas analysis.
Then, if someone is diagnosed with COPD, there are medications, exercises, and other treatment options that are available. With appropriate treatment, it is possible to manage the symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, allowing everyone to improve their overall quality of life. Nobody has to go through this alone.