Natural Health Nexis
This nhn COPD Guide includes information about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease that is written primarily to help COPD Patients better understand their condition and the range of COPD treatment options that are currently available:
Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) may be inflicted with either Chronic Bronchitis or Emphysema, or very commonly both of these diseases.
Multiple COPD symptoms will usually be experienced together, with the primary symptom depending upon which disease predominates and the state of advancement of each condition.
COPD symptoms such as shortness of breath and feelings of chest tightness or fatigue cannot be easily measured or quantified. Many patients ignore the first signs of these COPD symptoms, dismissing them as a "smokers cough" or lack of general fitness due to "being out of shape". However, COPD symptoms are not usually experienced until severe lung damage has occurred and, unless steps are taken to prevent further damage, the symptoms will worsen with continuing exposure to lung irritants like tobacco smoke, dusts, or air pollution.
Patients who display these COPD symptoms usually experience Acute Exacerbations, which are episodes when their COPD symptoms suddenly increase in severity, that may last for several days. COPD Exacerbations are typically caused by (bacterial and/or viral) infections, or by exposure to irritants.
A Diagnosis of COPD is more likely for those patients who meet all the criteria of being over 40 years of age, who have experienced long-term exposure to lung irritants, and who are exhibiting multiple COPD symptoms.
Breathlessness is not always a symptom of COPD, you may be suffering from shortness of breath due to a general lack of fitness. However, since breathlessness is a common COPD symptom, you should consult your doctor, who will help you determine the cause of "Dyspnea" in your case. If your breathlessness is found to be a sign of COPD your doctor should help you find the optimum treatment for your disease.
For Severe Wheezing you should seek emergency treatment immediately. Wheezing is usually a sign of a constriction in the airways, which may occur due to swelling or mucus accumulation. Wheezing is a symptom of COPD, but may be a sign of many other conditions including Asthma. Wheezing does not usually go away without treatment. Your physician can help you determine the cause of your wheezing and provide medication to treat it.
Coughing is a natural body reaction to either remove mucus or clear the airways of inhaled irritants. Although long-term coughing is a symptom of COPD, a short-term cough may be a sign of many other maladies such as the common cold. If you are coughing up sputum you should spit it into a disposable tissue and determine it's color. It will help your physician if you can describe the color and amount of sputum that you are producing each day. Your doctor will also help you understand whether the sputum is mucus coming up from your lungs or sinus drainage that is moving down your throat. In general, if you have experienced a cough for more than 3 weeks you should consult your doctor to determine the cause.
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