Lung attacks or pulmonary exacerbations are experienced by about a third of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). People diagnosed with this chronic disease often find it difficult to breathe.
COPD is a disease that obstructs the airflow to the lungs, hampering the ability to perform daily tasks with ease. A number of processes cause narrowing of the airways. There may be destruction of parts of the lungs, mucus blocking the airways, and inflammation and swelling of the airway lining, according to the WHO (World Health Organization)
Dr SK Jindal, Director of Jindal Clinics and Former Professor and Head of Pulmonary Medicine at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research tells us more about the disease, symptoms of a lung attack and the stages of COPD on the occasion of World COPD Day (November 17).
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How to diagnose a lung attack or episode of COPD
A person with COPD may experience severe shortness of breath, increased cough, chest congestion, sudden heart palpitations, wheezing, and a feeling of desaturation in the body. Often times, doctors can also diagnose the attack by looking for symptoms such as cardiac arrhythmia, pneumonia, and viral infection in the upper respiratory tract which can also be prevalent in COPD patients and can be life-threatening. danger, âsays Dr Jindal.
Stages of COPD
People diagnosed with mild or moderate COPD can often perform daily activities with difficulties like shortness of breath and coughing. While those who suffer from severe and very severe stages are often bedridden due to increased shortness of breath. This affects their quality of life and restricts their movement. People with severe COPD have difficulty eating, using the bathroom, and doing other daily tasks. Patients with severe COPD may experience complete respiratory failure or loss of breath.
COPD is generally classified into four main stages, namely: mild, moderate, severe and very severe.
âSpecial exercise to strengthen the muscles used for breathing can help cope with the disease. However, in severe cases, lung transplantation or surgery may be recommended to help improve lung function. Avoid self-medication and only take medicine prescribed by the doctor, and take inhalers regularly as prescribed by the doctor, âexplains Dr Jindal.
Treatments are usually done based on the severity of the illnesses and the number of excavations that have taken place due to various complications, says Dr Jindal.
Treatments consist mainly of inhalation using appropriate dilators; drugs such as Albuterol and Ipratropium are also used. Severe cases may require medication nebulized with oral bronchodilators and other antibiotics.
Oral steroids are also given if the patient has more excavations and suffers from COPD type C or D. They are mainly given to eliminate acute flare-ups in the airways, after which basic treatments like respiratory rehabilitation, different Breathing exercises and nutritional intake are monitored, âsays the doctor.
Management of pulmonary attack
COPD is not a reversible disease and is a chronic disease that gradually deteriorates lung function over time. Although it can easily be treated at an early stage with inhalation therapy and respiratory rehabilitation methods which can improve the general condition of your health and thus reduce the severity of symptoms.
âThe best way to prevent COPD is to never start smoking, and if you do, quit. Also, avoid second-hand smoke, which is the smoke from burning tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. pollution are the main contributors to COPD, âsays Dr Jindal.
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