Managing COPD

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) refers to various progressive lung diseases, including refractory asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. It is a progressive disease, which is also incurable. However, with the right treatment and diagnoses, COPD can be properly managed. There are numerous individuals with COPD who are living a good life with proper management of the disease. Moreover, numerous research institutions are conducting trials and research to identify better ways of managing this disease.

What is COPD?

COPD is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the lungs that reduces the airflow making it difficult for the individual to breath. The common symptoms of COPD are wheezing, mucus production, cough, and breathing difficulty.

The main cause of this disease is long-term exposure to a particular matter or irritating gases, for example, cigarette smoke. The individuals suffering from COPD are also at a high risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, and other health conditions.

Recent Findings for COPD Management

According to a study, conducted by experts from VITO and other Belgian research institutions in 2017, the retinal microvasculature offers a distinctive opportunity to visualize the circulatory system directly and without the need for invasive methods.

The research highlighted that since the geometric parameters in the vessels of the retina can be the markers for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, and might work similarly for COPD. The findings of the study determined that the geometry in the retinal vessel might offer insights about the presence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes in COPD patients. Hence, assisting in better management of the disease.

Another study examined the effects of exercise training in COPD patients. The research highlighted that there had been physiological changes witnessed in the COPD patients after they underwent a structured exercise training program.

Exercise training has been found to be an effective foundation for the rehabilitation program for COPD patients. The study found clinically relevant and significant improvements in the patients’ health status and functional exercise capacity after a rehabilitation program based on exercise training.

Such research and findings can play a major role in establishing an improved action plan for COPD patients to lead a normal and happy life.

Tips for Managing Symptoms of COPD

There are numerous ways in which the patients can manage the symptoms of COPD. Here are a few tips:

  • Performing physical activities slowly
  • Arranging things in places that are easier to reach to aid with cleaning, cooking, and other chores
  • Making things more accessible around the house and/or downgrading to a single-story house to eliminate the use of stairs
  • Wearing loose and comfortable shoes to make it easier to take them off and put them on without assistance
  • Hiring help or requesting loved ones to help around the house, as per the severity of the disease

COPD is a manageable disease, but it requires careful monitoring. In case you are experiencing severe symptoms like reduced muscle endurance, weight loss, swollen legs, feet, or ankles, gray or bluish fingernails or lips, rapid heartbeat, or increased difficulty in talking or breathing, then you need immediate medical attention. Make sure you don’t neglect these symptoms, or the condition can worsen.

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