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Stay away from COPD

Dr. Aswathy, Dept of Pulmonology, SUT Hospital, Pattom, Trivandrum

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD) is a long-term disease caused by airway narrowing resulting in air trapping and obstructing airflow from the lungs. Millions of people are affected worldwide with COPD and the share of India is quite high. Amidst the pandemic, the burden of COPD remains high. This year COPD day ran a campaign focusing on lung health. COPD is a chronic disease that brings serious physical, mental, socio-economic burdens on the sufferers.

Various factors, both environmental and habitual, determine the level of the disease in the patients. Smoking cigarettes/ Beedi/ Gutka, including passive smoking, is one of the main reasons for COPD. Air pollution or chemical exposure at a workplace can cause COPD. One can encounter COPD genetically if one among the family has Alpha 1 Antitrypsin deficiency.

Occasional breathlessness and feeling a heavy chest are some of the common symptoms of COPD. Breathlessness leading to bleeding, Cough with or without phlegm, and wheezing are the other symptoms when you need to check for COPD. These symptoms gradually progress. Coughing in the nighttime can result in severe debility.

You can avoid COPD mostly by incorporating a healthy lifestyle. Quit smoking and avoid getting exposed to smoke. If you are working in a chemical environment, always wear the PPEs effectively. Try to maintain a balanced diet along with regular exercise can save you from encountering breathing issues. Emotional well-being is as important as physical well-being in managing COPD. 

If you have been already diagnosed with COPD, continue with the medications in order to curb any progression of the disease. Remember to administer pulmonary rehabilitation vaccination against flu and pneumococcal.

SUT Hospital at Pattom has been helping patients regain life from COPD. Simple spirometry, X-ray or finding any genetic disorder helps in diagnosing the disease.