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News » COPD is the 4th leading killer but there is not much awareness of the condition

COPD is the 4th leading killer but there is not much awareness of the condition

Smoking is the main cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary, disease - COPD. It is also known as chronic obstructive airway disease, chronic airflow limitation and chronic obstructive lung disease. The condition is associated with emphysema, chronic bronchitis (excess mucus in large airways) and obstructive bronchitis (small airway obstruction, inflammation and fibrosis). The early stages of COPD are asymptomatic but severe cases can lead to death. Changes in chest shape can result from the body trying to cope with lung inefficiency. COPD occurs in 9.3 males per thousand population and 7.3 females per thousand population. It is the 4th leading cause of death in the world and is expected to become the third by 2020. A person should be assessed for COPD if they are over 50 and have a history of shortness of breath (dyspnea) and coughing. Dyspnea can occur many years after smoking has been stopped. Quitting smoking is the most important way to prevent COPD. Changes in chronic coughing or a new cough should be evaluated. Coughing usually starts in the morning and as the condition worsens, it occurs for longer periods during the day. Inflammation of airways can also cause mucus build up leading to sputum production during coughing. Another symptom of severe COPD is cyanosis which is where a poor oxygen supply due to lung impairment causes the skin, lips and nailbeds to become bluish. Hemoptysis (caused by effortless wheezing at night) in a person with COPD can cause blood to be coughed up or it may even be a symptom of lung cancer. Asthmatics are 12 times as likely to develop COPD. The nighttime wheezing may be confused with asthma but wheezing associated with asthma responds to drugs whereas wheezing associated with COPD doesn't. Risk factors for COPD include smoking, genetic factors, premature birth, deficiency of antioxidants (Vitamin A, C and E) in diet, exposure to vehicle fumes, industrial pollution and bacterial or viral infection in young children. It is estimated that biomass fuels contribute to 40,000 deaths annually (WHO). Diagnosis involves assessing medical history, physical condition and pulmonary function tests. Treatment involves using drugs such as bronchodilators and oxygen supplementation. Surgery may also been done to remove the damaged portion of the lung or a lung transplant may be performed. Experts want more awareness of the condition, its symptoms, its prevention and its treatment

Source: summary of medical news story as reported by Red Nova

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About: COPD is the 4th leading killer but there is not much awareness of the condition

Date: 13 December 2004

Source: Red Nova

Author: Ruslina Yusoff


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