Friday, December 11, 2015

COPD

What is COPD?

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is an umbrella term for several lung diseases that cause the airways to narrow down leading to blockage of the airflow and subsequent breathing difficulties.

What causes COPD?

One of the leading causes for development of COPD in the developed nations is smoking tobacco. In the other developing countries, COPD strikes those individuals who live in poorly ventilated house and are exposed to fumes and smokes. Apart from these factors, respiratory infections, air pollution and genetic factors can also play a pivotal role in the development of COPD.

What are the different types of COPD?

The 2 types of COPD include:
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema

How does COPD spread?

COPD is not a contagious disease and therefore cannot spread from an infected person to healthy individuals.

What are the symptoms of COPD?

Following are the symptoms experienced by individuals with COPD:
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing sound while exhalation
  • Tightness in chest
  • Chronic cough
  • Undue fatigue
  • Production of sputum which can be white, clear, greenish or yellow in color
  • Fall easy prey to respiratory infections
  • Weight loss
  • Cyanosis

What are the different stages of COPD?

COPD is a chronic and progressive lung disorder that develops in 4 different stages: These include:
Stage 1 – This is usually mild with feelings of shortness of breath or breathlessness. There is no cough or mucus.
Stage 2–Shortness of breath may aggravate at this stage.
Stage 3 – This stage is marked by the onset of severe symptoms such as fatigue, extreme breathlessness and incapability to exercise. There is onset of chronic cough with production of mucus.
Stage 4 – Quality of life is significantly hampered as shortness of breath increases to a great extent. The severity of cough increases with production of mucus.

What is the treatment of COPD?

COPD cannot be cured; however, with combination of medication, therapies and lifestyle modifications, the condition can be managed effectively. The various methods employed for treating COPD include:
  •  Medications such as antibiotics, theophylline, phosphodiesterase – 4 inhibitors and steroids
  • Bronchodilators which are usually taken in form of inhalers
  • Therapies such as pulmonary rehabilitation program and oxygen therapy
  • If the disease has progressed to the last stage and the lung damage is very severe then, in such cases surgery may be the last resort.

How can COPD be prevented?

One of the most effective ways of preventing the development of COPD is to avoid tobacco in all forms. In addition to this, keeping rooms and kitchens well ventilated to allow the smoke and cooking fumes to escape also ensures good lung health.

What are the diet and lifestyle changes in COPD?

Adopting the following steps can help in better management of COPD:
  • Quit smoking
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet
  • Regular exercise for improving the strength of the respiratory muscles
  • Avoid places with air pollution
  • Learn techniques to control breathing
  • Use of a humidifier to clean the blocked airways from accumulated mucus

What is Ayurvedic treatment of COPD?


Ayurveda has many effective medicines for treatment of COPD. These include ashwagandha, sitopaladi churna, shringa bhasma, adhatoda vasica, tankan bhasma, abhrak bhasma, pushkarmool and licorice.

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