Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Awareness (NOV 1)

THEME: All Together To End COPD (Connect with friends, spread the word, make a difference)
AIM: To Raise Awareness about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Improve COPD Care throughout the World

• COPD is a progressive life threatening lung disease that causes breathlessness. (Initially with exertion) and predisposes to exacerbation and serious illness.
• The global burden of disease study reports a prevalence of 251million cases of COPD globally in 2016.
• Some cases of COPD are due to long term asthma.
• Many cases of COPD are preventable by avoidance or early cessation of smoking.
• COPD is not curable, but treatment can relieve symptoms, improve quality of life and reduce the risk of death.
• COPD symptoms in most cases do not appear until significant lung damage has occurred, and as time passed they get worse, especially if smoking exposure continues.

Signs and symptoms of COPD may include:
• Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities
• Wheezing
• Chest tightness
• Having to clear your throat first thing in the morning, due to excess mucus in your lungs
• A chronic cough that may produce mucus (sputum) that may be clear, white, yellow or greenish
• Blueness of the lips or fingernail beds (cyanosis)
• Frequent respiratory infections
• Lack of energy
• Unintended weight loss (in later stages)
• Swelling in ankles, feet or legs.

People with COPD are also likely to experience episodes called exacerbations, during which their symptoms become worse than usual day-to-day variation and persist for at least several days.

Risk factors
Risk factors for COPD include:
• Exposure to tobacco smoke
• People with asthma who smoke
• Occupational exposure to dusts and chemicals
• Exposure to fumes from burning fuel
• Age
• Genetics

The majority of cases of COPD are directly related to cigarette smoking, and the best way to prevent COPD is to never smoke — or to stop smoking now. It’s your best chance for preventing damage to your lungs.

Occupational exposure to chemical fumes and dust is another risk factor for COPD. If you work with this type of environment, talk to your supervisor about the best ways to protect yourself, such as using respiratory protective equipment.

Come down to Royal Victoria Medical Centre for a Doctor’s consultation.

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