Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that results in obstructed airflow from the lungs. It is a chronic progressive disease, meaning that it generally gets worse over time. That being said, with the right treatment and lifestyle changes, COPD can be controlled and symptoms can be managed.
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are at high-risk for developing more severe illnesses such as heart disease and lung cancer. Therefore, it you suffer from COPD, it is necessary to seek medical attention from a specialist pulmonologist consultant in Dubai.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is most often contracted by long-term exposure to irritating gases, cigarette smoke, air pollution, or particulate matter.
Symptoms of COPD
Symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease often do not show up until extensive damage to the lungs have taken place. The most common symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chronic cough that may produce mucus
- Chest tightness or pain
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Weight loss (in later stages)
- Swelling in ankles, legs, and feet
These symptoms are often progressive and do not get better over time. For instance, a continuous cough that does not improve over time. However, patients of COPD may experience exacerbations, which are episodes where symptoms become more worsened then usual.
If you are experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms for an extended period of time, and if you possess any of the risk factors such as frequent smoking or exposure to irritating gases, then book an appointment with a specialist pulmonologist.
Causes of COPD
In developed countries such as Dubai, the leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is frequent cigarette smoking. Long-term cigarette smokers run the risk of a compromised lung function, and may develop disease such as COPD.
Another cause of COPD is exposure to harmful gases. For example, people who are frequently exposed to fumes from cooking gases in poorly ventilated houses may run the risk of developing COPD.
In its essence, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is caused by obstructive airways in the lungs. Two major causes of obstructed airways are:
- Emphysema. This causes destruction of the fragile walls and elastic fibers of the air sacs. Small airways collapse when you exhale, impairing airflow out of your lungs. This can lead to COPD
- Chronic bronchitis. When the bronchial tubes become inflamed and narrowed and your lungs produce more mucus, this can further block the narrowed tubes. A chronic cough is developed in an attempt to clear your airways, and this can cause COPD.
If you have been exposed to any of these causes and are experiencing symptoms of this pulmonary disease, then book an appointment with a specialist pulmonologist to be diagnosed for COPD.
Stages of COPD
In general, there are four stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.
The first stage is considered to be the beginning stage, with the least amount of blockage in the lung airways. This is also known as the “mild” stage, with coughing and some mucus.
Also known as the “moderate” stage. In this stage, airflow is even more blocked and patients may notice a shortness of breath, especially after physical activity. Patients should seek medical attention from a specialist pulmonologist in Dubai during this stage.
In the third stage, airways are considerably more blocked and shortness of breath is more frequent. Patients may experience exacerbations at this point, which are temporary episodes of flared-up symptoms.
This is the final, most severe stage of COPD. In this stage, patients experience limited airflow, and quality of life is poor. This can lead to more severe diseases such as heart disease or lung cancer. This may require intensive care from a specialist pulmonologist.
Treatment of COPD
While there is no cure for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, treatment can help manage symptoms and reduce the intensity of the disease.
Medication generally includes bronchodilators, which relax the airway muscles and widen the passage of the airways. This is generally taken with inhalers or a nebulizer. Other treatments may include the yearly flu shot and immunity boosting treatment to reduce other respiratory infections.
Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, light exercise, and dietary changes can also improve the symptoms of COPD.
In severe stages when treatment does not help, surgery may be required. A specialist pulmonologist will determine the stage of the disease and the appropriate treatment.
For the best pulmonologist in Dubai, visit Professor Dr. Uwe Klima at the German Heart Centre. He is a leading specialist pulmonologist in Dubai with years of extensive experience treating patients for various pulmonary diseases. Book an appointment at the German Heart Centre today.