what is COPD causes, symptoms, treatment



Airflow from the lungs becomes restricted due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a chronic inflammatory lung disease. Wheezing, coughing up mucus (sputum), and having trouble breathing are all symptoms. Inflammatory gases or particulate matter, most frequently from cigarette smoke, must be exposed for an extended period of time to cause it. Lung cancer, heart disease, and a number of other diseases are all more likely to occur in people with COPD.

 Two of the most typical illnesses that cause COPD are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. People with COPD may experience either of these two disorders, and their severity can vary.


The bronchial tubes that transport air to and from the lungs’ air sacs (alveoli) are inflamed in chronic bronchitis. Daily coughing fits and sputum production are its defining features.

Emphysema is a disorder where the alveoli at the end of the tiniest air channels (bronchioles) of the lungs are destroyed as a result of harmful exposure to tobacco smoke and other irritating chemicals and particulate matter.

COPD is treatable, despite the fact that it is a chronic, progressive condition that worsens over time. Most COPD sufferers can improve their quality of life and symptom control with effective therapy, and their risk of developing other comorbid illnesses is decreased.


The symptoms of COPD frequently don’t show up until there has been severe lung damage, and they typically get worse with time, particularly if smoking exposure persists.

COPD symptoms and warning signs can include:

Shortness of breath, particularly during strenuous activity; wheezing; tightness in the chest; a persistent cough that may produce mucus (sputum) that is clear, white, yellow, or greenish;

• Often contracting respiratory infections

Insufficient energy and unintended weight reduction (in later stages)

• Legs, foot, or ankle swell

Incipient signs

In the beginning, COPD symptoms may not be very severe. They may be misdiagnosed as the flu.

The following early signs:

a light but persistent cough;

 • sporadic shortness of breath;

 • the need to clear your throat frequently, especially in the morning

You might start introducing little adjustments, such avoiding the stairs and skipping strenuous activity.

symptoms deteriorating

Progressively worsening symptoms can make them more difficult to ignore. Following even light exertion, such as walking up a flight of stairs, you could suffer the following as the lungs get more damaged:

• wheezing, a form of noisy, higher-pitched breathing, especially during exhalations.

• Chest clenching

• a persistent cough that produces or doesn’t produce mucus; the requirement to regularly clear mucus from your lungs;

influenza or another respiratory infection

• insufficient vigour

Symptoms of COPD that appear later in the disease include:

Weariness, swollen ankles or legs, and weight loss are all signs of fatigue.

Exacerbations, also known as symptom worsening episodes, are common in COPD sufferers and last for at least a few days. These episodes are referred to as exacerbations and occur when the sufferer’s symptoms are worse than the normal day-to-day variation.


In developed nations, smoking tobacco is the leading cause of COPD. People who live in dwellings with insufficient ventilation and are exposed to fumes from burning fuel for cooking and heating frequently acquire COPD in the developing countries.

Only a small percentage of chronic smokers acquire clinically obvious COPD, while many smokers with lengthy smoking histories may experience decreased lung function. Fewer common lung problems can arise in smokers. Up until a more complete evaluation is done, they can be misdiagnosed as having COPD.

Exactly how it affects your lungs

Your trachea, which is made up of two substantial tubes, carries air into your lungs (bronchi). These tubes split into numerous smaller tubes (bronchioles) inside of your lungs, similar to how tree branches do. These smaller tubes, known as air sac clusters, are the ends of these tubes (alveoli).

However, carbon dioxide, a gas that is a waste product of metabolism called gas is expelled.

To force air out of your body, your lungs rely on the natural suppleness of your bronchial tubes and air sacs. When you exhale, some air is retained in your lungs due to the COPD-induced loss of their flexibility and overexpansion.

Chest infection Open pop-up dialogue box

obstacles to the airway’s flow

Emphysema is one of the causes of airway blockage. The alveoli’s delicate walls and elastic fibres are destroyed by this lung condition. When you exhale, small airways constrict, limiting the airflow leaving your lungs.

• Recurrent bronchitis Your bronchial tubes shrink and swell during this illness, and your lungs create more mucus than usual, which may further clog the already-obstructed airways. You get a chronic disease trying to open your airways with a cough

  • irritants like cigarette smoke
  • Most COPD sufferers can attribute their condition to long-term cigarette smoking, which damages their lungs and causes COPD. However, given that not all smokers get COPD, there may be additional factors at work in the disease’s onset, such as a genetic predisposition to it.

COPD can also be brought on by other irritants such air pollution, exposure to dust, smoke, or fumes at work, cigar smoke, second-hand smoke, pipe smoke, and these other irritants.

The absence of alpha-1-antitrypsin

A genetic abnormality that results in low amounts of the protein known as alpha-1-antitrypsin causes COPD in roughly 1% of affected individuals (AAt). To assist protect the lungs, the liver produces AAt, which is then secreted into the bloodstream. Lung, liver, or both conditions may develop as a result of an alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency.

Treatment options available to adults with COPD associated with AAt deficiency include those given to those with more prevalent forms of the disease. A further treatment option for certain patients is to supplement the lost AAt protein, which may help to stop the lungs from suffering additional harm.

Hazard elements

  • Exposure to tobacco smoke is one of the COPD risk factors.
  • Long-term cigarette smoking is the biggest cause of COPD. the more packs you smoke and the longer you’ve smoked, the more
  • Your danger increases as you smoke more packs. In addition to those exposed to high levels of second-hand smoke, other smokers who use pipes, cigars, or marijuana may also be at risk.

Asthmatic individuals. COPD development could be influenced by the inflammatory chronic airway condition known as asthma. Smoking along with having asthma makes COPD a much bigger danger.

Being subjected to chemicals and dust at work. Lung irritation and inflammation can result from prolonged exposure to chemical fumes, vapours, and dusts during work.

Being among burning fuel fumes. People who live in under-ventilated dwellings in poorer nations are more likely to acquire COPD because they are exposed to the fumes from burning fuel for cooking and heating.

Genetics. Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency is a rare genetic disease that affectsthe root of some COPD cases. Some smokers may be more prone to the disease due to other genetic factors.


Several difficulties brought on by COPD include:

respiratory infections Colds, the flu, and pneumonia are more prevalent among COPD patients. Any respiratory illness has the potential to make breathing considerably more difficult and to further harm lung tissue.

Heart issues. Your chance of developing heart disease, including a heart attack, is increased by COPD for unclear reasons.

  • Cancer of the lung cancer is more likely to strike those with COPD.

Lung artery blood pressure that is too high. The arteries that supply blood to your lungs may become hypertensive as a result of COPD (pulmonary hypertension).

Depression. Breathing issues can prevent you from participating in activities you enjoy.

Depressive disorders can sometimes arise as a result of dealing with serious sickness.

such as:

• respiratory infections, such as the flu, the common cold, and pneumonia are more likely to develop as the illness worsens

  • Cardiovascular issues

• Pulmonary hypertension, or high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs;

• Depression and phobia


In contrast to some illnesses, COPD frequently has a clear aetiology, a clear course of prevention, and there are techniques to limit the disease’s progression. Since smoking is a major contributing factor in the majority of cases, quitting smoking now is the best course of action for preventing COPD.

If you’ve been a smoker for a long time, these straightforward statements might not seem so straightforward, especially if you’ve previously tried to stop smoking – once, twice, or numerous times. However, keep making an effort to stop. Locating a programme that can assist you in quitting smoking permanently is essential. It is your best opportunity to lessen lung damage.

working with chemicals that release fumes Another danger for COPD is dust. Speak with your manager about the best safeguards to take, such as wearing respiratory protection equipment, if you work with these kinds of lung irritants.

The following actions can be taken to lessen the risk of COPD-related complications:

Stop smoking to lower your chances of lung cancer and heart disease.

To lower your risk of or to prevent some infections, get a yearly flu shot and routine vaccination against pneumococcal pneumonia.

• Consult a physician if you feel depressed, hopeless, or have any other concerns.

How to identify COPD

For COPD, there is no one test. A diagnosis is made in light of symptoms, a physical examination, and the findings of diagnostic tests.

When you see the doctor, be certain

be sure to mention all of your symptoms. Tell your doctor if:

•       you’re a smoker or have smoked in the past

•       you’re exposed to lung irritants on the job

•       you’re exposed to a lot of second hand smoke

•       you have a family history of COPD

•       you have asthma or other respiratory conditions

•       you take over-the-counter or prescription medications

How is COPD diagnosed?

Spirometry grading is one way to assess COPD.

One grading scheme is a part of the GOLD classification, among other grading schemes. In order to provide a prognosis and treatment strategy, the GOLD classification is utilised to assess the severity of COPD.

In accordance with spirometry tests, there are four GOLD grades:

Grades 1 through 4 are mild, moderate, severe, and extremely severe, respectively.

Based on your FEV1 measurement from the spirometry test, this. The amount of air that can be forcedly exhaled from the lungs in the first second is this. As your FEV1 declines, the severity gets worse.

Your unique symptoms and previous acute exacerbations are taken into consideration as well by the GOLD categorization. Based

About spirometry tests:

•Grade 1: Mild

•Grade 1: Mild

• grade 3: very severe

• Very severe (grade 4)

Based on your FEV1 measurement from the spirometry test, this. The amount of air that can be forcedly exhaled from the lungs in the first second is this. As your FEV1 declines, the severity gets worse.

Your unique symptoms and previous acute exacerbations are taken into consideration as well by the GOLD categorization. Your physician may assign you a letter group based on this data in order to assist identify your COPD grade.

Exam and tests

During the physical exam, your doctor will use a stethoscope to listen to your lungs as you breathe. Based on all this information, your doctor may order some of these tests to get a more complete picture:

•       Spirometry is a non-invasive test to assess lung function. During the test, you’ll take a deep breath and then blow into a tube connected to the spirometer.

•       Imaging tests, like a chest X-ray or CT scan. These images can provide a detailed look at your lungs, blood vessels, and heart.

chest X-rays or CT scans are examples of tests. Your heart, lungs, and blood arteries may all be seen in great detail in these photos.

A measurement of arterial blood gas For the purpose of determining your blood’s levels of carbon dioxide, oxygen, and other critical variables, a blood sample from an artery is taken.

With the use of these tests, you can learn whether you suffer from COPD or another ailment, such as asthma, a lung disease with tight restrictions, or heart failure.


Treatment can reduce disease-related symptoms, avoid complications, and usually delay the disease’s development. A pulmonologist, along with respiratory and physical therapists, may be a member of your medical team.

oxygen treatment

A mask or nasal cannula can be used to administer more oxygen if your blood oxygen level is too low in order to improve your breathing.

Move around more easily with a portable unit.

Surgery is only an option if other treatments have failed, which is more likely if you have a severe form of emphysema. Surgery is also only recommended for people with severe COPD.


 is the name of a particular kind of surgery. These big, abnormal air pockets (called bullae) are taken out of the lungs by the doctors during this treatment.

The removal of damaged upper lung tissue through lung volume reduction surgery is an additional option. However, few patients choose to have this significant, somewhat risky procedure. Lung volume reduction surgery can be effective in improving breathing.

There is sometimes the option of a lung transplant. COPD can be successfully treated by lung transplantation, but there are numerous hazards.

Endobronchial valves (EBV)

which are one-way valves that direct inspired air to healthy lungs and away from non-functioning, damaged lungs, are a less invasive technique of increasing the effectiveness of airflow in persons with severe emphysema.

The FDA authorised the Zephyr Endobronchial Valve Trusted Source in 2018 after research showed that it could help emphysema patients breathe easier, exercise more easily, and live better overall.

Change in way of life

Your symptoms might potentially be relieved or reduced with the help of some lifestyle changes.

Quit smoking if you do. The right goods or assistance services can be suggested by your doctor.

Try to limit your exposure to chemical vapours and second-hand smoke.

• Feed your body with the nutrients it requires. To develop a healthy eating plan, see a nutritionist or your doctor.

As for how much exercise is safe for you, consult your doctor.

COPD medications

Symptoms can be lessened and flare-ups can be decreased with medication. To find the medication and dosage that are most effective for you, it might take some trial and error. However, these are some of your choices:

bronchodilators for inhalation

Bronchodilators are drugs that help your airways’ stiff muscles to relax. Inhalers or nebulizers are commonly used to administer them.

Between 4 and 6 hours are covered by short-acting bronchodilators. They are only employed as necessary. Long-acting versions exist that you can take daily if your symptoms persist. About 12 hours pass between them.

The American Thoracic Society highly advises a long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) in combination with a long-acting muscarinic antagonist for persons with COPD who have shortness of breath or breathing difficulties during exercise (LAMA).

These bronchodilators open up your airways so that you may breathe more easily by relaxing the stiff muscles there. Additionally, they aid in the body’s removal of pulmonary mucus Using a nebulizer or an inhaler, you can combine these two bronchodilators to open up your airways.

These LABA/LAMA bronchodilator treatments are suggested:






Combining inhaled glucocorticoids with long-acting bronchodilators is a typical practise. An anti-inflammatory drug known as a glucocorticosteroid can lessen mucus production and inflammation in the airways.

By allowing the airways to relax, the long-acting bronchodilator helps maintain larger airways. The drug version of corticosteroids is also offered.

agents that inhibit phosphodiesterase-4

The airways can be relaxed and inflammation reduced by taking pills containing this kind of therapy. For severe COPD with persistent bronchitis, it is typically administered.


Breathlessness and chest constriction are reduced by this drug. A flare-up may be avoided with its aid. You can purchase it as pills.

Older drug called theophylline relaxes the muscles of the airways, but it also has potential negative effects. For COPD therapy, it is typically not a first-line option.

Antibiotics and antiviral medications

When you get some respiratory infections, a doctor could recommend antibiotics or antivirals.

Ask your doctor if you need to get a pneumococcal vaccine, a tetanus injection that also protects against pertussis, and a flu shot every year to reduce your chance of contracting other respiratory illnesses (whooping cough).

study up on the COPD treatments that are available as pills and therapies.

being a COPD sufferer

Management of COPD must continue throughout one’s life. That entails adhering to the recommendations of your medical staff and upholding a healthy way of life.

Avoid doing anything that might put too much strain on your fragile lungs or trigger an attack. As you modify your lifestyle, take into account the following items.

Refrain from smoking.Discuss smoking cessation programmes with your doctor if you’re having problems quitting. Avoid being around dust, air pollution, odours from chemicals, and second hand smoke.

Engage in physical activity. You can maintain your strength with a little daily activity. About how much exercise is healthy for you, consult your doctor.

Include wholesome items in your diet. Skip the highly processed, calorie- and salt-rich, yet nutritionally deficient foods.

 • Handling various illnesses. In particular, diabetes mellitus and heart disease, as well as any other chronic illnesses you may have in addition to COPD, should be managed.

Organize your home.It will require less energy to clean and perform other household chores if you declutter and organise your home. Get assistance with daily tasks if your COPD is advanced.

Expect flare-ups and be ready. Keep a copy of your emergency contact details with you, and put a sign up on your fridge. Give details about the drugs you use, their dosages, and what you take them for. Your phone should be programmed with emergency numbers.

28 thoughts on “what is COPD causes, symptoms, treatment”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *