Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is projected to become the third most common cause of death worldwide by 2030. Acute COPD is associated with worsening symptoms, including breathlessness, decreased quality of life (QOL) and an accelerated loss of lung function. In this interview with Al-Amin Ibrahim, Dr. Ojo Oluwole of Broad Land Hospital, Ogun State, said eating heavy food late into the night can predispose or aggravate COPD, among others
What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?
COPD is a group of lung disease that causes breathing difficulties and it is also a spectrum. It is not just one disease and it has a spectrum of different types which are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It is a syndrome of progressive airflow limitation caused by an abnormal inflammatory reaction of the airways and lung parenchyma. It stems from chronic tobacco smoking, and indoor air pollution. The condition is the result of environmental insult and host reaction that is likely to be genetically predetermined. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exhibits expiratory airflow limitation due to abnormalities in the airways and/or lung parenchyma. The disease begins with an asymptomatic phase and onset of the symptomatic phase develops with a fall in Forced Expiratory Volume in one second (FEV1) below 70% of the predicted value. There is reduction in diffusing capacity, hypoxemia and alveolar hypoventilation. Eating fatty dietary can also promote COPD most especially eating heavy meals late into the night which can predispose or aggravate COPD.
What are the major causes of COPD?
Smoking is a major cause. Also, poorly treated or neglected airway disease or any form of infection.
Environmental Factors: COPD can also occur in those who have had long term exposure and contact with harmful pollutants in the workplace. Some of these harmful lung irritants include certain chemicals, dust, or fumes. Heavy or long-term contact with secondhand smoke or other lung irritants in the home, such as organic cooking fuel, may also cause COPD. Individuals who have worked for many years around these irritants are at risk of developing mild COPD.
Genetic Factors: Even if an individual has never smoked or been exposed to pollutants for an extended period of time, they can still develop COPD.
Anyone that has asthma or any respiratory diseases should get proper treatment because it can lead to COPD.
Is COPD Contagious?
It can be. There are two kinds of bronchitis: Chronic, which means your airways are irritated over and over. This type lasts for a few months or longer, and usually comes back year after year. Things that irritate your lungs, like dust, chemicals, or smoke from a fire or cigarettes, usually cause it. Chronic bronchitis isn’t contagious, but it’s a serious health problem that requires a doctor’s care. The other one is acute bronchitis which can last for 1 to 3 weeks. It’s usually caused by cold orflu viruses. Since these viruses are contagious, acute bronchitis usually is, too.
What are the symptoms?
The commonest symptoms is cough that is associated with sputum production usually over a long time You may not have any, at least not ones that grab your attention. In fact, most people don’t learn they have COPD until a later stage. It often starts with a nagging cough. It could be dry, or you might have mucus that’s clear, white, yellow, or green. You may also find that you’re short of breath sometimes, especially if you push yourself. At this stage, the symptoms may not seem like such a big deal. You may think they’re just about getting older or that maybe you aren’t as fit as you used to be. But shortness of breath and a constant cough aren’t things to ignore. If you have them, check with your doctor. Your doctor will ask about your health history and your family’s, too. You’ll get a physical exam, though it often doesn’t show much until the disease is more advanced. Next, you’ll need some tests. The same ones may be used during any stage of the illness
Prevention of COPD
The best way to prevent COPD is to not start smoking or to quit smoking. Also, try to avoid lung irritants that can contribute to COPD, such as air pollution, chemical fumes, dusts, and secondhand smoke, which is smoke in the air from other people smoking. Another way to prevent COPD is to take healthy diet. Take balance diet this means eating the right portion of food in the right amount every day. So once you eat balance diet, it boosts your immunity or even when we come in contact with some of this toxin it does not act violently in our system. Also, drinking adequate water is important. An average adult should take at least four liters of water per day then more if they are exerting themselves. Starting a day with water is very good for the system, salty diet should also be reduced because salt has also being implicative to health conditions like heart failure which can also complicate COPD. COPD is treatable. With proper management, most people with COPD can achieve good symptoms control and quality of life, as well as reduced risk of other associated conditions.