Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

COPD is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. Symptoms include breathing difficulty, cough, mucus (sputum) production, and wheezing.

What are the symptoms? 

COPD symptoms often don't appear until significant lung damage has occurred, and they usually worsen over time, particularly if smoking exposure continues.

Signs and symptoms of COPD may include shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, a chronic cough that may produce mucus (sputum) that may be clear, white, yellow or greenish, frequent respiratory infections, lack of energy, unintended weight loss (in later stages), swelling in ankles, feet or legs. 

What causes it? 

Most cases of COPD are caused by inhaling pollutants; that includes tobacco smoking (cigarettes, pipes, cigars, etc.), and second-hand smoke. Fumes, chemicals, and dust found in many work environments are contributing factors for many individuals who develop COPD. Genetics can also play a role in an individual’s development of COPD - even if the person has never smoked or has ever been exposed to strong lung irritants in the workplace.

How is it diagnosed and prevalence? 

A spirometry test measures how well your lungs are working. It’s a simple and easy test that can help diagnose COPD. Study reports a prevalence of 251 million cases of COPD globally in 2016.

What is the individual impact?

COPD has a substantial detrimental impact on health status, quality of life, and daily activities, and also contributes to increased anxiety and depression levels, increased risk of exacerbations, and worse disease prognosis. 

 

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