Interrelation of COPD and smoking habit

September 21, 2012 • COPD Emphysema

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is referred to a number of lung diseases. It includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis and related lung disorders. These health conditions occur with hindrance of air flow through lung airways, which can affect breathing process. The main cause of problem is damaged or inflamed airways, which can interrupt normal breathing procedures. COPD patients may have a single disease or associated multiple problems, but the main cause of disease is smoking.

Smoking: Major COPD culprit

COPD is mostly caused due to smoking habit. Regular habit of smoking can damage inner lining of lung airways, due to which it becomes inflamed. The other causes might be exposure to hazardous chemicals (at work or otherwise) or air pollution.

Smoking can damage airways inside lungs. If the airways are damaged, they can’t be repaired or reversed to their original position. A smoker has to quit their regular habit of smoking to increase their life expectancy. If a person quits smoking, it can make a large difference to the rate of progression of disease. It is never late to quit smoking and at initial stage diagnosis, you can save a lot by quitting smoking. There will be no more permanent damage to lungs and a patient would be able to survive for a longer time.

Symptoms of COPD

Shortness of breath is the common symptom of any COPD. You will even feel breathlessness after doing routine activities. Coughing is another symptom developed and specifically, sputum included cough can persist in COPD. Wet coughing is worst. Mucus formation becomes excessive in airways, which results in wet coughing. COPD worsens with excessive coughing and the indications of disease go on increasing with persistent smoking.

Diagnosis of COPD

The common diagnostic procedures for COPD are:

  • Doctor will examine your physical condition and note down symptoms of disease, like coughing, sputum formation and breathlessness.
  • Physician will check risk conditions for development of disease. Example, smoking addiction, pollution rate of environment or exposure to toxins and chemicals.
  • Spirometer test is commonly used for patients to detect their lung efficiency during early stages of disease. The patient will blow in spirometer and the severity of disease can be measured.
  • X-Ray of chest can detect conditions of COPD. It can also detect the level of disease.

These are the preliminary causes and based on these tests, other testing procedures are done to diagnose the disease further.

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