This COPD Awareness Month, Know all about COPD and how it can affect you
November 23, 2022

How many of us know that November is COPD awareness month? Not many at all. In fact, a surprisingly large number of people don’t know what COPD is and how seriously it can affect them. This November, the month officially designated national COPD awareness month, let us learn why it is critical to know about this disease, how it can affect us and what to do about it.

What is COPD?

COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, obstructs the flow of air from the lungs. Most often, COPD is seen in those with emphysema or chronic bronchitis, and these two can also occur together, worsening the patient’s condition drastically. The symptoms of the disease are not evident until lung damage has already begun. Although breathing difficulty is a symptom, this develops slowly over many years, and many people miss the progression of the symptoms until it drastically affects their life. Therefore, taking the right measures to spot the disease in its early stages is essential. Remember that COPD can lead to heart disease too and put you at greater risk of lung cancer.

Learning more about the disease in this COPD awareness month 2022 helps you understand how to avert the disease, identify it in time and treat it with the best outcomes.
Treatment for COPD begins after the condition has been diagnosed with simple tests like spirometry, blood test, or chest X-rays. Sometimes, further tests are recommended as required. Treatment includes:

• Tablets and medications in the form of inhalers
• Exercise for improving pulmonary health
• In limited cases, lung transplant

Common symptoms of COPD

During the COPD awareness month of November, campaigns are held to spread awareness about the ailment so that more people can learn about common symptoms and quickly get tested before the disease progresses. Among the most often seen early warning indicators are:

• A long-standing complaint of cough with mucous
• Inability to breathe deeply
• Wheezing
• Recurring chest infections
• Gasping for breath when walking, climbing stairs or doing mild exercises
• Difficulty breathing during routine activities

Since most of these symptoms are very common with other ailments or simple exhaustion, many people fail to take these seriously. Often, these are written off as ageing signs, a bout of cold, or allergies. Ignoring the symptoms allows the disease to develop and damage the lungs further undetected.
Chest pain, weight loss, and swelling of ankles from oedema are less frequently seen symptoms of COPD.

Causes of COPD

One of the main goals of the national COPD awareness month campaigns is to educate the public about which factors cause this potentially devastating disease. COPD is the result of the lung or the airways becoming inflamed due to damage. The most common causes of COPD are:

• Long exposure to pollutants
• Smoking or exposure to cigarette smoke, i.e., second-hand smoke (almost 9 out of 10 cases of COPD are caused by smoking)
• Dust/chemicals exposure at the workplace (even grain or flour dust can cause COPD)
• A genetic condition called Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency

Preventive measures

The good news is that COPD can be treated, and the treatment outcomes are excellent when the disease is detected early. With the right treatment at the right stage, COPD symptoms can be managed without affecting your quality of life. Here are some preventive measures:

• Avoiding smoking and second-hand smoke is the first and most effective way to tackle COPD risk
• Those who smoke should stop immediately to curb the progression of the disease

Avoid exposure to other pollutants in your environment (such as dust, fumes, chemicals, and smoke)
Apart from these, one simple way to prevent COPD is to track your overall health and identify if you are at risk of contracting the disease so that you can take the right measures in time. Regular health screening can help by scanning for this disease and many others that can affect your entire quality of life.

Annual whole-body screening packages that include the right tests for evaluating pulmonary health and COPD symptoms allow you to verify year after year if your lungs show any initial signs of this disease. Remember that detection in the early stage gives you the best treatment outcomes with the least invasive treatment methods. This makes health screening your most effective tool in preventing COPD or ensuring that it is addressed before it affects your lungs.

This COPD awareness month 2022, book your appointment at your nearest NURA labs for comprehensive screening for not just COPD but a host of other potentially dangerous diseases. We offer whole body screening packages for both men and women, comprising all the necessary tests you need to undergo to track your health completely. Our testing is backed by Dr Kutty’s Healthcare and powered by the cutting-edge tech expertise of Japanese Fujifilm to deliver accurate, timely results. Talk to a friendly NURA labs technician today to know more.