Handling A COPD Patient
Handling A COPD Patient
COPD is a chronic, progressive disease that causes tightening (narrowing) of breathing tubes (airways) and swelling and irritation of the walls of small, deep airways in the lungs. Constant airway obstruction and inflammation leads to symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, chest pain and / or breathing difficulties that worsen over time.
Patients with COPD also experience active relapses or exacerbations that are characterized by sustained worsening of symptoms (lasting more than 48 hours), i.e. increased shortness of breath, coughing, and / or secretion of mucus. Active flare-ups lead to an increased intake of relieving medications and / or additional medication.
What Are The Causes Of COPD?
COPD is caused primarily by chronic exposure to pollutants that damage the lungs, although smoking is the most common cause, accounting for 80-90% of cases. Other causes are: second-hand smoke, air pollution, history of childhood lung infections, and genetic predisposition.
How to Recognize the Symptoms of COPD?
Sputum, shortness of breath and frequent respiratory infections are among the obvious symptoms. As COPD progresses, symptoms worsen with increasing negative impacts on the quality of life of people with COPD. Daily tasks like getting dressed and going for a walk become more and more difficult.
See your doctor if you are over 40, if you are a smoker or ex-smoker, and if you answer one of the following questions in the affirmative:
- Do you cough often?
- Are you expecting or spitting regularly?
- Are you out of breath even when you are doing easy tasks?
- Is your exhalation wheezing on exertion or at night?
- Do you often have colds that last longer than most people?
- What is an active push?
People with COPD may have active outbreaks of their disease during which their symptoms worsen considerably. The flare-ups are often in the form of bronchial infection. Patients with frequent active relapses experience an increased risk of hospitalization and death. Preventing active outbreaks and recognizing and treating them early are all critical to ensuring optimal care for people with COPD.
Talk to your doctor to establish an action plan that will teach you to recognize active flares so you can act quickly. Additional medications, hospital emergency room visits or hospitalizations may be required to treat some of the active outbreaks.
According to Sehat Cloud- a good medical blog that contains medical information you can trust on! there are four stages of COPD, you can visit the website and get more information on COPD.
How to Handle A COPD Patient?
There are several treatments for COPD, but none cure the disease. The treatments available are intended to slow down the progression of the disease, to prevent active breakouts, to reduce symptoms and to improve the quality of life of those affected.
Quitting smoking will not restore healthy lungs, but will slow the progression of the disease. Stopping smoking is the only recognized intervention that slows the decline in lung function that COPD causes. The damage to your lungs will not stop until you continue to smoke. There are a number of ways to facilitate you stop smoking. Your doctor and pharmacist can help you choose the most appropriate ways for you.
There are several classes of medications to treat COPD. Bronchodilators are inhaled medications that open the airways to facilitate the passage of air and help you breathe better. For patients with persistent symptoms and frequent active relapses, a combination of long-acting inhaled corticosteroids / beta agonists may be introduced for increased control.
For patients with frequent active outbreaks, a new oral phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor, specifically designed to treat chronic inflammation of COPD, may be added. To treat active flares, antibiotics or cortisone treatments may also be prescribed.
It is strongly recommended that people with COPD get an annual flu shot. This reduces the risk of undergoing active outbreaks. In addition, there is a vaccine that protects against certain types of pneumonia which also reduces the risk of flare-ups.
When COPD is very severe, the oxygen you breathe in the air can become insufficient and extra oxygen (oxygen therapy) becomes necessary.
Pulmonary rehabilitation programs teach people with COPD to breathe better. You will learn techniques to optimize your breathing. Ask your doctor about programs in your area.
Lung transplantation may be an option for people with advanced COPD who do not smoke and who will not live long unless they have a transplant. If a patient is eligible for transplantation, they are placed on a waiting list. The waiting period can be long. During transplantation, the surgeon will remove one of the patient’s lungs and replace it with a healthy lung. This procedure may involve risks. People who have an organ transplant must take anti-rejection medications for the rest of their lives.
COPD in Everyday Life
Did you know that certain medical treatments, combined with a change in lifestyle, can help slow the progression of COPD?
As mentioned earlier, COPD is a chronic disease that gets worse by degrees. People with COPD need to change their lifestyle to better cope with their disease. Here are some tips for living better with COPD:
- Stop smoking. No smoking is essential when you have COPD
- Eat well. A balanced and healthy diet will give you more energy and help you maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly. It is important to start at your own pace with appropriate exercises. Do not hesitate to call in a specialized trainer
- Do your housework without forcing
- Learn to avoid shortness of breath
- Take your medicine regularly. Ask your pharmacist for advice to help you better understand your treatments
- If you have any other questions about what to do if you have COPD, do not hesitate to consult your pharmacist
COPD disease cannot be cured, but it can be treated. Early diagnosis, changes to your lifestyle and appropriate treatments can help you live a normal, active life, avoid hospitalization and live longer.