What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a chronic disease of the respiratory system characterized by not reversible obstruction of the air(oxygen) flow present inside the bronchi and lungs, secondary to chronic bronchitis (presence of cough and phlegm for at least three months a year, for two consecutive years) or pulmonary emphysema (abnormal enlargement of the air spaces beyond the terminal bronchioles with progressive destruction of the walls of the pulmonary alveoli.
Why does it happen?
The main provoking factor of COPD is smoking.
An unfavorable environmental situation (air pollution with industrial waste, exhaust gases, smoke, dust, etc.); professional activity (work in mines, at chemical plants, in hot shops); climatic conditions (fog, high humidity, dampness); infectious agents (mycoplasmas, pneumococci, Haemophilus influenza, influenza, adenoviruses, etc.). There is a genetic predisposition to COPD, since with lung disease in the body of patients, a lack of the hormone alpha-1-antitrypsin, which is responsible for the development and functioning of the respiratory system, is often found.
How does it manifest?
In chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the inflammatory process affects all structures of the respiratory system: bronchi, bronchioles, alveoli, pulmonary vessels, etc. The clinical signs of COPD are similar to those of chronic obstructive bronchitis and are manifested by:
• shortness of breath – at first with physical exertion, later and at rest;
• increased shortness of breath when exposed to dust, cold air, irritants;
• dry wheezing of a high timbre on exhalation.
The disease develops gradually from symptoms to severe respiratory disorders, sometimes 25-30 years pass.
How is the diagnosis made?
The most important diagnostic method is spirometry, where the vital capacity of the lungs, forced expiratory volume in 1 second, and other indicators are measured according to a particular scheme. Identify the presence of bacteria and viruses.
In patients with severe symptoms of respiratory failure, a blood gas analysis must be taken. Fluorography of the lungs allows you to exclude other diseases of the respiratory system. Usually, in patients with COPD, an x-ray shows compaction and deformation of the bronchial walls, emphysematous changes in the lung tissue.
How to treat?
The first step in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is to quit smoking or, if there is no such bad habit, try to protect yourself from second-hand smoke.
Most likely, you will have to use inhalers, spacers, nebulizers, through which drugs are injected into the body.
When the exacerbation of the inflammatory process subsides, physiotherapeutic procedures are introduced – UFO of the chest, ultrasound, inductothermy, UHF, etc.). Also, patients with COPD are recommended to massage the chest, do breathing exercises.
What are the preventive measures?
The absolute ban on nicotine has already been discussed above. In addition, it is undesirable to overcool, overheat. It is necessary to follow the rules of labor protection. In particular, if the work involves the inhalation of harmful substances, it is required to use personal protective equipment (respirators).
In the course of this disease exacerbation, essential metabolic and other organ functions (diabetes, renal insufficiency, etc.) may also be compromised, and essential arrhythmia and cardiac and respiratory insufficiency patterns may occur, which can also endanger the patient’s life.