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Posted on Apr 19, 2022

Causes, Symptoms and Early Diagnosis of COPD

The first and foremost question is – What is COPD? COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is a chronic lung disease that affects people worldwide. The good news is, it is preventable and treatable if caught early. This article delves into the causes, symptoms, and risk factors of COPD that you should look out for, as this disease becomes more common than ever in the present time.

Some facts about COPD

  • Approx. 384 million people suffer from a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease known as COPD in the world
  • 3 million people die each year of COPD
  • COPD is currently the third leading cause of death globally
  • COPD is highly prevalent in low resource countries
Causes, Symptoms, and Early Diagnosis of COPD

What is COPD? COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is a chronic lung disease. Know the Causes, Symptoms and Early Diagnosis of COPD

Causes and risk factors of COPD

In simple words, exposure to irritants that damage your lungs and airways can cause Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Here are the major causes and risk factors of COPD:

1. Smoking

One of the main causes and risk factors of COPD is smoking. Around 85-90% of all COPD cases are caused due to cigarette smoking. The thousands of toxins in cigarette smoke destroy the lungs’ capacity bit by bit. Slowly but surely contributing to COPD.

2. Environment

COPD is essentially caused by what you breathe in, so your surrounding environment becomes a risk factor for COPD too. Be it indoors, outdoors, home, or workspace – air pollution, secondhand smoke, and dust, fumes, and chemicals in any of these spaces can be a cause for COPD.

3. Alpha-1 deficiency

This is a rare genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, which affects some people at a young age and causes them to develop COPD. The protein, Alpha-1 protects the lungs, so a body that’s deficient in this protein automatically becomes a major risk factor for COPD.

4. Occupational dust and chemicals

How do I know if I have COPD or the symptoms of COPD?

Since Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive illness, doctors worldwide categorise the symptoms into 4 stages of COPD:

Stage 1: Early

In this nascent stage, Symptoms of COPD often are unnoticed even by the patient. Instead, they are mistaken for flu as they develop a cough and increased mucus production.

Stage 2: Mild

Symptoms of stage 2 COPD show up as a worse form of Stage 1. Severe coughing and mucus production occur, some even experience shortness of breath when walking or exercising. Usually, people only realize that something is wrong in this stage.

Stage 3: Severe

Symptoms of Severe COPD include:

  • Trouble catching breath doing household chores
  • Frequent colds and sickness
  • Swollen ankles
  • Chest tightness
  • Trouble breathing deeply
  • Wheezing

Stage 4: Very severe

At this stage breathing even while resting becomes a challenge for many. The blood oxygen level is low and the patient is likely to have frequent flare-ups that can be potentially fatal. There’s a risk of developing lung or heart failure.

Like many chronic diseases, COPD is best treated at an early stage. Because it gets worse over time unless you get proper treatment. The earlier you catch it, the better of course. So, if you are facing any of these symptoms of COPD, contact Paras Hospitals by clicking here to get immediate specialized treatment.

 Early diagnosis – symptoms include

  • Shortness of breath
  • A repetitive cough
  • Increased phlegm or mucus production
  • Feeling tired
  • More frequent chest infections
  • Longer to recover from a cold /chest infection

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