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When you picture your lungs, it’s likely that you envision a balloon that fills with air and then deflates as you exhale. However, this organ is far more complex than most people give them credit for. They are a complex and intricate array of blood vessels, airways, bronchioles, alveoli, and more that all come together in a sophisticated symphony that enables you to process the air you breathe into the life-giving substance that sustains life. One issue facing millions of Americans each year is what is unknown as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This post will take a brief look at what this disease is, how it’s diagnosed, and what you can do to manage it.
What Are The Usual Symptoms Of COPD?
COPD is relatively straightforward to diagnose in comparison to some other lung diseases. However, the main issue is that many of the symptoms that manifest could also be due to other illnesses meaning that it’s essential to visit your doctor if you suspect you have the typical COPD symptoms associated with this illness. Some of the primary indications are:
- A shortness of breath: This might initially appear only when exercising but can develop into continuous breathlessness, even when trying to sleep.
- A persistent, chesty cough: A chesty cough could indicate a number of issues, but when combined with other symptoms, it could be a pretty good sign you might be suffering from COPD.
- Frequent lung infections: Lung infections are some of the most difficult to shake because they bed themselves so entirely into the tiniest parts of the organ. Therefore, if you constantly suffer from them, you should check with your doctor what the underlying cruises might be, COPD being one possibility.
- Constant wheezing: Wheezing differs from breathlessness in that you will hear a rattling or a whistling sound every time you breathe in.
Who Are Most At Risk?
Although COPD is usually referred to as the “smoker’s disease,” it can strike anyone exposed to hazardous environments or have a history of lung issues (although smoking significantly increases the likelihood of developing the illness). For example, if you suffered from numerous respiratory infections as a child, you are more likely than otherwise to contract COPD than those who didn’t. Nonetheless, In most cases, it will afflict those who are 40 or over and are exposed to various hazards ranging from smoking (the enemy of good lung health everywhere) to even those living in particularly polluted cities.
Early Diagnosis Is Crucial If You Want To Manage It Effectively
As with many diseases, COPD worsens the longer you leave it undiagnosed. Moreover, since there is no current or forthcoming cure, early diagnosis is critical if you want to live a full and healthy life without it taking too much of a toll on your lifestyle. Early diagnosis allows you to comprehend the condition and take the necessary steps to limit its impact. For instance, this could mean quitting smoking, wearing a mask when you find yourself in smoky environments, or even requesting to move departments if your workplace places you at increased risk of exposure to poor-quality air.
Although there may be no cure, early diagnoses, and rapid treatment can dramatically lower the effect of COPD on your life. If you experience any of the listed symptoms, you should speak with your doctor to learn how to treat the condition.