COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a disease caused by damage to the lungs for many years, usually due to the habit of smoking.
It is often the combination of the following two diseases.
Is the inflammation of the airways that carry oxygen to your lungs, that is, the bronchi. This inflammation causes a lot of mucus and this can narrow or obstruct the airways causing respiratory distress.14
In a person with emphysema, the alveoli (small air sacs) may be destroyed, dilated, narrowed or collapsed, causing a decrease in respiratory function. This damage to the bags is irreversible and causes less air to enter and exit the lungs, causing a lack of air.15
THE ABOVE GENERATES A SERIES OF SYMPTOMS16 CHARACTERISTIC OF COPD. THE MOST COMMON ARE:
Shortness of breath, especially with physical activity.
Wheezing or wheezing when breathing
Excessive production of mucus that is not easy to remove by coughing
Increase in the frequency of respiratory infections
Not all people with the symptoms have COPD, and not all patients with COPD have all the symptoms mentioned. Your doctor is the person who determines if you have this disease.
At the beginning of this disease you may not even notice your symptoms because they occur in a mild way, over time the symptoms can become serious enough that you must go to a doctor.16
The severity of your illness will depend on the lung damage you have, if you are a smoker the damage will occur more quickly.
CAUSES OF COPD AND ITS DIAGNOSIS
Exposure to irritants that can damage the lungs and airways can lead to COPD. The main cause of the disease is smoking, but non-smokers can also suffer from it.17
Approximately 60% -70% of patients with COPD are related to smoking. The more than 7000 toxins that a cigar generates when it is turned on makes the defense systems of the lungs weaken before an infection.17
Prolonged exposure to air, smoke and dust contamination or chemicals can cause long-term diagnosis of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD.17
DEFICIENCY OF ALPHA-1 ANTITRYPSIN
Rarely, you may have COPD due to a rare genetic condition that causes alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. People who have this condition have low levels of alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT), a protein produced in the liver, having a low level of this protein can lead to lung damage until you get COPD.17
If you have characteristic symptoms of COPD and see your doctor for a review you can expect to undergo a couple of tests before receiving a diagnosis. These tests are very simple and often include a conversation about your medical and family history, lifestyle habits and your current symptoms.18
Within the confirmatory diagnostic tests to know if you have COPD is spirometry, this test is to place the mouthpiece of a spirometer in the mouth and exhale and inhale as hard and fast as possible. What is measured is the amount of air during that inhalation and exhalation, in addition to the force with which you can do it.8
OTHER POSSIBLE TESTS16 THAT YOUR DOCTOR WILL ASK YOU TO PERFORM CONSIST OF
Analysis of the phlegm to determine if you have an infection that may be causing the symptoms.
Blood tests to determine the levels of gas in your blood.
HAVE YOU HEAR OF OXYGEN THERAPY?
When you have a condition where your oxygen levels in the blood are too low, as in COPD, you are a candidate for oxygen therapy.19
This treatment increases the amount of oxygen your lungs receive and deliver to your blood. If you have low oxygen levels in your blood, you may feel breathless, tired and / or confused.19
There are several ways to get oxygen20:
Oxygen gas cylinders
Liquid oxygen devices
You do not have to stay at home or in the hospital receiving oxygen therapy because the devices might be portable. You may experience some side effects due to oxygen therapy such as dry or bloody nose, tiredness and morning headaches.19
For some people who have severe COPD, using extra oxygen for most of the day can help them:
Doing tasks or activities while having fewer symptoms
Protect your heart and other organs from damage
Sleep more during the night and improve alertness during the day.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT AFTER THE TREATMENT
Oxygen therapy can improve your quality of life. If you have severe COPD and low oxygen levels, this therapy could help you live longer.20
Apart from the benefits obtained from oxygen therapy such as breathing better by increasing oxygen in the blood and improving the quality of your life to feel more energy, this therapy helps prevent one of the consequences to long-term COPD, right heart failure.20
IS IT CONSIDERED AND EFFECTIVE THERAPY?
Several studies indicate that using oxygen therapy for more than 15 hours increases the quality of life and helps people live longer when they have low blood oxygen levels due to COPD.
Oxygen therapy is quite safe for patients if they follow the instructions given by their doctor. It is important to keep in mind that when you are using this therapy, do not stay near lit cigarettes or any type of flame.20
8. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. (2017, diciembre). Lung Function Tests. Retrieved from AAFA: https://www.aafa.org/lung-function-tests-diagnose-asthma/
14. Sociedad Española de Medicina Interna. (2019). Bronquitis crónica y aguda. Retrieved from SEMI: https://www.fesemi.org/informacion-pacientes/conozca-mejor-su-enfermedad/bronquitis-cronica-y-aguda
15. University of Rochester Medical Center. (2019). Enfiema Pulmonar. Retrieved from URMC: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=85&ContentID=P04409
16. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2019). COPD. Retrieved from NIH: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/copd
17. American Lung Association. (2018, marzo). What causaes COPD. Retrieved from https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/symptoms-causes-risk-factors/what-causes-copd.html
18. Lung Institute . (2019). COPD. Retrieved from https://lunginstitute.com/lung-diseases/copd/