COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease represents a spectrum of illnesses which all together cause serious breathing difficulty due to irreversible damage to lung tissue. COPD includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis as well as several other conditions.
COPD is one of the leading causes of lethal outcome around the world. It is estimated that it predominantly affects smokers, particularly heavy smokers and people who have cherished this unhealthy habit for a long period of time.
Prevention of COPD
Because scientists have found one of the most definitive causes of COPD, it is considered that many cases of COPD can actually be successfully prevented. In order to prevent emphysema or chronic bronchitis from developing one should never smoke. If this is not the case, he/ she should quick smoking as soon as possible, before any of the symptoms and signs of the disease occur. And finally, even people who smoke and cannot stop must pay close attention and at least try to cut down on the number of cigarettes smoked per day. People exposed to second-hand smoke may also eventually develop COPD. This is why smokers should pay attention not only to themselves but also to people from their surroundings.
Furthermore, COPD also affects people who have been exposed to chemical fumes and dust for many years. Even professional exposure to certain chemicals may contribute to the disease. In such cases the only way to prevent COPD is to be properly protected while working at dangerous workplace (protective gear such as masks). As for environmental pollution there is nothing to be done since the level of pollution changes and an individual cannot control this factor.
Additional Protective Measures
It is also possible to reduce the chance of developing COPD by consuming proper food (rich in vitamins, minerals and all the essential nutrients), exercising and having regular check-ups (particularly if one is at higher risk of developing COPD). And finally, with adequate immunization (vaccination) one can avoid certain infections which may contribute to the onset of COPD.
Coping with COPD
Patients suffering from COPD have hard lives and breathing difficulty severely interferes even in the simplest daily activities, especially in advanced stage of the disease. They need support and help to cope with the condition and continuous assistance of family and close friends. They are all together with the doctor included in the treatment and provide with optimal support. Depressed patients as well as those suffering from additional psychological issues can benefit from counseling.