10 COPD Myths and Facts
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the collective term for two major lung diseases: emphysema and chronic bronchitis, but how much do you really know about this potentially deadly disease? We’ve put together a list of 10 myths and facts about COPD you should know about, based on information from health.com.
COPD is fourth on the list of killer diseases in the U.S. following heart disease, cancer, and stroke. It’s estimated that up to 12 million Americans could have COPD but are completely unaware of it.
Although this can be attributed to many lung diseases, shortness of breath along with wheezing, a chronic and productive cough, excess mucus and chest tightness are signs of COPD. COPD patients are more likely to suffer from recurrent colds and flu.
While smoking or second-hand smoke is responsible for most cases of COPD, people exposed to pollutants are also at high risk of developing the disease. In cultures where cooking is done over open fires in enclosed spaces, the rate of COPD is very high.
Sadly, there is no cure for COPD. However, there are many medications and treatments for patients which can ease the symptoms and improve their quality of life. Quitting smoking and preventing infections by getting a flu vaccination will help slow down the progress of COPD.
COPD can strike at any time, although you are more at risk as you get older. There have been rare cases of COPD in people’s 20s and 30s, but it is not uncommon for people in their 40s to develop the disease.
The earlier COPD is diagnosed the earlier the patient can begin treatment and the disease progression can be slowed. Many people who experience the symptoms of COPD shrug them off, considering them a natural part of growing older or a result of not being fit enough instead of going to see their doctor.
Exercise is now encouraged for COPD patients as it helps the body use oxygen more efficiently and prolongs life as overall health is improved.
Quitting smoking, exercising more, maintaining a healthy body weight and eating a nutritious diet will all help your overall prognosis and allow you to get the most out of life with COPD.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, quitting smoking will reduce the symptoms of COPD and slow down the progression of the disease. If you’re struggling to quit smoking on your own, see your health care team about support and medications that may help.
COPD can affect more than just the lungs, and patients will be at an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and depression.
COPD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.