COPD Symptoms to Watch Out For
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is documented as the third leading cause of death in the United States. The term is used to refer to two lung diseases, chronic bronchitis and emphysema, characterized by obstruction to airflow resulting to difficulty in breathing.
The common misconception about COPD is that it only affects people who smoke. However, there are several other risk factors associated with the disease, such as exposure to air pollution, second-hand smoke, occupational dusts and chemicals; heredity; a history of childhood respiratory infections; and socioeconomic status.
In 2008, approximately 13.1 million American adults, aged 18 and above, are suffering from COPD. The condition has likewise become a significant cause of hospitalization among older adult population. According to the American Lung Association, approximately 64 per cent of hospital discharges in 2006 involved adults aged 65 years and older.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of COPD is crucial in seeking immediate treatment. Shortness of breath and wheezing sound when breathing are two of the most common symptoms of COPD. Other signs that are associated with people that have COPD include frequent and severe coughing, irregular breathing, chest tightness, swelling ankles and legs, weight loss, and lower muscle endurance.
Milder symptoms are usually harder to notice, but over time COPD symptoms may become severe when left unattended. Because some of the symptoms of COPD could be similar to the symptoms of other diseases, getting regular check up with a health care professional is often advised.
Lifestyle change play an important role in the treatment of COPD. The goals of COPD treatments include relieving symptoms, preventing and treating complications, and slowing the progress of the disease.
Tags: COPD disease, COPD symptoms, obstructive pulmonary disease, respiratory diseases