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COPD, short for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a common lung disease with difficulty breathing.

COPD is 'chronic' due to its persistence and progress, and 'obstructive' due to the narrowing of the airways and can become fatal if left untreated.

Smoking is one of the most important causes of this disease which can be asymptomatic initially. In this disease, shortness of breath, even with light effort, indicates progression.

COPD, primarily in smokers, has become a severe health problem, so precautions for COVID-19 are vital for this disease.

In this disease, the airways are narrowed and thickened due to harmful gases and particles due to smoking. Additionally, it prevents oxygenated air airflow.

The narrowing of the bronchi is an irreversible condition. In addition, it becomes progressive when left untreated. Factors that play a role in the development of COPD;

  • Air pollution,
  • Working in smoky and dusty environments,
  • Smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products,
  • sigara ve diğer tütün ürünleri,
  • Socioeconomic level,
  • Age,
  • Gender,
  • Genetic factors,
  • Chronic bronchitis,
  • Chemicals,
  • Harmful gases,
  • Respiratory tract infections and asthma.
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What are the Symptoms of COPD?

The most common symptoms of COPD are coughing with discharge and shortness of breath. While the cough is not frequent in the mild stage, it can be continuous throughout the day in the advanced stages.

Sputum is generally thick, sticky, and gray-white. Sputum increase may be a symptom of COPD or associated with bronchitis.

There is shortness of breath in the early stage, but usually, it is not recognized. In the moderate stage, cough, sputum, and shortness of breath become more evident.

As a result of shortness of breath combined with fatigue, the inability to breathe easily, and weakness, patients start feeling the need to go to the doctor. People are usually diagnosed with COPD at this stage.

What are the Stages of COPD?

  • Mild Stage: In the mild stage, it is often difficult to diagnose the disease. In this phase, the symptoms are mild, shortness of breath during fast walking, heavy work, and climbing stairs.
  • Moderate Stage: Like in the mild stage, shortness of breath during activity is among the main complaints. Some patients can feel shortness of breath even in daily work. When patients in the middle stage with high sputum and cough severity have a lung infection or a cold, this disease's healing process takes longer than others.
  • Heavy Stage: Shortness of breath is present in everyday life, and fatigue accompanies it. Unlike mild and moderate stages, at this stage, dyspnea starts to bother at night. Therefore, the sleep pattern of the patient is also affected.
  • Very Severe Stage: The period when the patient can not move and feels short of breath even in a normal sitting position. The patient becomes unable to go to work and has difficulty walking.
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Which Symptoms Occur in the End Stage of COPD?

The symptoms in the last stage of COPD are intense and severe.

The most important reason for this is that some symptoms result from a severe decrease in body oxygen. In the last stage of the disease, symptoms are as follows:

  • Sweating,
  • Palpitations,
  • Losing weight,
  • Nervousness,
  • Insomnia,
  • Dementia,
  • Severe headache,
  • Abdominal swelling,
  • Edema in the legs,
  • Clarification of neck veins,
  • Loss of sexual desire,
  • Constipation,
  • Shaking and numbness in the hands,
  • Bruising on lips, tongue, and fingertips

On the other hand, in the last stage of the disease, COPD may be accompanied by various diseases. Therefore, each disease triggers the other. Types of diseases that occur in the end stage are as follows;

  • Cardiovascular diseases,
  • Bone and muscle wasting,
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol,
  • Lung cancer,
  • Sleep apnea,
  • Anemia,
  • Anxiety,
  • Diabetes,
  • Depression,
  • Gastroesophageal reflux.

How Is COPD Diagnosed?

Early diagnosis and intervention in COPD are vital. With early diagnosis, the progression of the disease can be stopped or even slowed down.

During the diagnosis, the patient's complaints and tests are evaluated, and evaluations such as pulmonary function tests and chest X-rays are done. The aimed function according to the respiratory capacity, age, gender, and weight of the patient is determined.

The respiratory test determines the diagnosis of COPD and the severity of the disease. Blood oxygen level and exercise tests are additional tests.

So What Is Good For COPD?

COPD patients can contribute to the treatment process by taking some precautions. With these precautions, the patient can prevent the disease's acceleration and increase their quality of life. Recommendations for COPD patients are as follows;

  • Avoid exposure to air pollution and dirty and dusty environments.
  • It is crucial to consume a lot of liquids
  • Exercising helps to strengthen the muscles and reduce shortness of breath. But the exercises should not be too heavy.
  • Meals should be in small portions and frequent.
  • In general, liquid foods are in the nutrition plan. Solid and heavy meals can cause shortness of breath.
  • Patients should avoid alcohol and smoking.
  • It is essential to do breathing exercises in the stages when shortness of breath starts to get worse.
  • Patients should eat in a sitting position.
  • Food and beverages that impair the gastrointestinal system should not be consumed.
  • Patients should receive influenza vaccination annually. Also, protect themselves from sick people.
  • Clothing that will make breathing difficult should not be worn.
  • Patients should rest.
  • Elevator should be preferred if available.
  • Patients should avoid contact with other people to avoid catching infectious diseases.
  • Obesity can cause progression. Therefore, COPD patients need to be at their ideal weight.

Is COPD Contagious?

COPD, one of the most common causes of death in our country and the world, is not contagious.

Is COPD Mortal?

Among the diseases that cause mortality, COPD is ranked the 4th in the world and the 3rd in our country.

COPD reduces the quality of life and can cause a loss of workforce, making the person unable to afford his care over time.

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Can a COPD be Cured?

COPD is preventable and curable. Early diagnosis is crucial for the treatment of the patient.

Diagnosing COPD in the early stages, smoking cessation, and taking medications can stop the progression of the disease. Regardless of the level, the course of the disease is positively affected when the patient quits smoking.

Within two months after the patient quits smoking, 10% of respiratory functions improve.

There is no treatment available for the irreversible changes that occur in the lungs of COPD patients.

The patient's lungs cannot return to their original state. Therefore, you should take care of your health and avoid all kinds of situations that are harmful to your body.

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