World COPD Day will take place this month in November on the 17th, Wednesday. The very first World COPD day was in 2002. Every year organizers worldwide in 50 countries and more carry out activities, making this day one of the most important days of the year.
This day is organized by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease called COPD for short. Their goal is to bring more awareness out about this disease and for the improvement of care for COPD patients.
This year the theme is “The Year of the Lung: Measure your lung health”. Just simply visit your healthcare practitioner and ask for the test spirometry. The test involves breathing into a mouthpiece which is connected to an instrument named spirometer. This instruments record the amount of air breathed in and out in a period of time. This message is in hopes of raising awareness of spirometry as a gold standard for diagnosing COPD and places importance on things a person can do to safeguard their lung health.
COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Estimates show that over 12 million persons have been diagnosed with COPD and another 12 million most likely have the disease and are not aware of it yet due to not be diagnosed as of current. The numbers of persons having COPD keep continuing to climb. This disease ends the lives of about 120,000 Americans each year.
COPD is a very serious lung disease and over a span of time makes breathing difficult. It is also called emphysema or chronic bronchitis.
Persons who have COPD have a difficult time breathing due to the fact the airways (the tubes in which carry air in and out of lungs) are partially obstructed causing the difficulty of air to go in and out.
Symptoms of COPD
Symptoms can include the following:
Constant coughing sometimes called smokers cough
Shortness of breath doing activities that you use to be able to do with no problem
Excess phlegm being produced
Cannot take a deep breath
In severe cases of the disease shortness of breath among other activities interfere in doing the most simple of tasks such as getting dressed and light household chores.
This disease progresses slowly and has the ability to become worse over a length of time. If you notice you have any problems it is advisable to see your healthcare practitioner right away.
Risk Factors of COPD
In age forty or older this disease can usually occur in those who have a history of smoking it does not matter if your an ex-smoker or smoker. Even one out of six persons who have COPD have never smoked. However, smoking is one of the most common causes for the disease. It is responsible for nine out of ten deaths of COPD.
Exposures of Environment
COPD has been known to develop in persons who have had long lengths of time being exposed to things that irritate the lungs such as certain chemicals, dust and even fumes in the work place. Long term or heavy exposure to air pollutants or second-hand smoke can also add to COPD.
Factors of Genetics
In some cases of COPD it has been caused by a genetic factor referred to as alpha-1 antitrypsin or ATT deficiency can have COPD even if the person has never smoked. Estimations show that 100,000 Americans have ATT deficiency.
Prevention of COPD if at risk
Stop smoking, it will aide in prevention of more damage being done to lungs.
Avoid things which cause irritation to your lungs such as dust or strong fumes. When outside air quality is poor remain indoors. Try avoiding places with cigarette smoke.
Conventional Treatments of COPD
Bronchodilators relax the muscles around the lungs to make breathing easier.
Short-acting or long-acting ones may be prescribed depending on the severity of COPD. Short-acting ones last four to six hours and are only used when needed. Long-acting last for about 12 hours and most of the time are used daily.
Steroids which are inhaled have been used in the treatment of COPD. They are used to treat persons who have symptoms that flare up or become worse.
Flu shots reduce the risk of flu. Persons who have COPD can have serious health problems if they get the flu.
Pneumococcal vaccine will decrease the risk of pneumococcal pneumonia. Those with COPD have a greater risk of the pneumonia in comparison to persons without COPD.
This is a program which is medically supervised which aides in the improvement of health and well being for those with COPD.
The program can include things such as an exercise program, nutritional and psychological counseling.
In some cases of sever COPD there are low levels of oxygen in the lungs. The therapy is designed to help improve breathing. In this therapy oxygen is delivered through nasal prongs or a mask.
In very rare cases surgery is done as a last resort for those with COPD severe symptoms which show no improvement from medications.
Walls of the air sacs are destroyed and large spaces called bullae form. The spaces become greatly enlarged it causes breathing difficulty. The doctor removes one or several bullae from the lungs.
Lung Volume Reduction Surgery
Surgeons remove damaged tissue from lungs.
Damaged lung is removed and replaced with a healthy lung from a deceased donor.
Nutrients and Herbs
Panax Ginseng: In a study was found to show considerable improvements in all outcomes including pulmonary function tests.
Echinacea was found to show significant improvements for lung functioning.
Ginseng: Ginseng has been shown to improve pulmonary functions and exercise in persons with COPD. Amounts shown to be used in COPD cases from moderate to severe have been note at 100mg twice a day.
Omega-3-fatty acids have been shown to improve breathing which in long term leads to be able to do short spans of exercise.
This treatment is safe and gentle therapy to aide COPD patients being able to breathe much better. In acupressure the pressure applied unblocks the energy and restores comfort. Acupuncture does the same thing through stimulation of fine needles.
Acupressure and acupuncturehave both shown to be effective in studies to help persons with COPD breathe easier.
The practice of pranayama has been proven effective for patients with COPD. It has aided patients to learn how to breath deeper in order to expand their lungs.
Literature reviews have found chiropractic spinal manipulation can aide persons with COPD.
International Chiropractic Pediatric Association in a review found that chiropractic manipulation of the spine had shown improvements in patients with COPD.
Study in the journal of the American Osteopathic Association found reductions of severe symptoms of persons with COPD who under gone spinal manipulations.
Another study had shown a patient who had COPD showed improvements after having regular chiropractic care. The improvements noted included forced vital capacity, reduction of coughing and fatigue and more ease in breathing.
Chiropractic care aims to restore the bodies normal functioning by way of removing any interferences. Focus on vertebral subluxations.
Resources for COPD
Breathing Better, Living Well
Information on COPD and other chronic lung diseases. Articles, resources and community.
Support and advocacy group.
American Cancer Society
Guide to stop smoking. Informative and helpful resources.
American Lung Association
Latest information on COPD
The National Emphysema/COPD Association to empower those with COPD, their families and caregivers.
National Institutes of Healthcare
Gold Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease