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What is COPD?

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COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a group of lung ailments that cause breathing issues and obstruction of the airflow.

What are the indications?

  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest tightness
    An individual with COPD has poor tolerance for physical activity or exercise.
  • Frequent episodes of coughing
  • Poor tolerance for physical activity or exercise

Who are at risk?

  • Individuals between the ages of 50-74
  • Those with a history of severe asthma
  • Current and former smokers
  • Having a family history of the disease
  • Individuals who had long-term exposure to air irritants including tobacco smoke and industrial chemicals

Even though the symptoms are not always severe, COPD has the potential to be serious and even fatal. An early diagnosis of the condition and treatment can alter the course of the disease and slow down its progression.

Management of COPD

Individuals with COPD might not know that they have the condition until it is already in the “moderate” phase. At this point, there is coughing, shortness of breath and thicker mucus production.

There is no specific treatment for the condition. For every individual, he/she is given a treatment plan specific for his/her needs. The treatment might include medications to alleviate the symptoms along with oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation.

Lifestyle changes can also be included such as regular exercise, breathing techniques and avoidance of air pollutants at work and at home. Among those who smoke, a vital key in treatment is cessation.

Since respiratory conditions such as the flu can trigger severe complications among those with COPD, the yearly flu vaccination is highly recommended. In some cases, getting a pneumococcal vaccine is also required.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on COPD is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage this respiratory condition by taking a standard first aid course with Red Deer First Aid.

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