WHAT IS COPD?
COPD is a preventable and treatable lung disease caused but exposure to noxious smoke/vapours.
The most common cause of COPD is direct cigarette smoke, but also second-hand smoke or exposure to wood smoke or chemical vapours can cause COPD (for example partner of smokers, wood cooking, or industry exposure).
People with COPD must work harder to breathe, which can lead to shortness of breath and/or feeling tired. Early in the disease, people with COPD may feel short of breath when they exercise. As the disease progresses, it can be hard to breathe out (exhale) or even breathe in (inhale).
A person with COPD may have obstructive bronchiolitis, emphysema, or a combination of both conditions. The amount of each of these conditions differs from person to person. Our pulmonology clinic in Dubai is a great centre to visit if you are worried about COPD.
- How do I know if I have COPD?
Common symptoms of COPD include feeling short of breath while resting or when doing physical activity, cough, wheezing, fatigue, and/or mucus production that does not go away. If you have these symptoms, you should talk to a specialist from our Pulmonology Clinic Dubai.
Some people with early COPD may not be aware of symptoms. Testing should be done in people who are at risk for COPD. Investigations required include a breathing test (lung function test) called spirometry. Spirometry measures your ability to exhale and can detect whether your airways are narrowed.
Changes of COPD can also be seen on a chest x-ray or a chest CT scan. Other tests might be necessary to assess how well you are breathing with sleep and with exercise. This includes looking at your oxygen saturation levels.
- Will COPD ever go away?
The term chronic, in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, means that it lasts for a long time. Symptoms of COPD sometimes improve when a person stops smoking, takes medication regularly, and/or attends pulmonary rehabilitation.
However, the lungs are still damaged and never fully return to normal. Therefore, COPD is a lifelong condition. Breathlessness and fatigue may never go away entirely, but people can learn to manage their condition and continue to lead a fulfilling life.
- Action Steps
Stop smoking and avoid smoke exposure.
Ask Family Medicine doctors about having a spirometry lung function test to check your lungs.