Dr. Suat Günsel University of Kyrenia Hospital Chest Diseases Specialist. Prof. Dr. Füsun Yıldız explained that Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disease especially seen in the age of 40 and above and developed as a result of exposure to cigarette smoke and other harmful gases and particles.
Yıldız stated that chronic bronchitis and emphysema are included in the definition of COPD and the disease causes progressive airflow limitation, inefficient gas exchange, shortness of breath and / or chronic cough and sputum. Prof. Dr. Füsun Yıldız said that cough occurs at the first stage of the disease, but usually the patients are tend to consider it as a result of smoking habit and consult the doctor late. Chest Diseases Specialist Prof. Dr. Füsun Yıldız stated that if the disease can be detected at the first stage it could be prevented and stressed that the shortness of breath is an important symptom of advanced stage.
Dr. Suat Günsel University of Kyrenia Hospital Chest Diseases Specialist. Prof. Dr. Füsun Yıldız underlined that today COPD has become the third cause of death in the world and it is responsible for 5.5% of all deaths and continued her statement on 20 November World COPD Day by adding the following:
Why does COPD occur?
80-90% smoking is responsible for the development of COPD. The age of onset of smoking, the intensity of the smoke, the total amount of daily and total smoking, affects the development of the disease. In fact, inhalation of dust, smoke and various gases, indoor and outdoor pollution, socioeconomic status, diet-related factors, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, environmental and genetic factors are effective in the development of the disease.
What are COPD complaints?
The most common symptoms in COPD are cough, sputum production and shortness of breath. The person, who suffers from shortness of breath, does not want to walk, reduces their daily work, hesitates to go to the closest market and over time prefers to stay indoors. In this case, decrease in physical activity also decreases the quality of life of the patient and causes the disease to progress, causing disability and even death. Therefore, it is necessary to increase physical activity both in the prevention and in progression of this disease.
How is COPD diagnosed?
The diagnosis of COPD can be made easily by a simple and painless test called “breathing test “. In addition, lung film, sputum analysis and blood tests can be performed.
The diagnosis of COPD can be made easily by a simple and painless test called ‘pulmonary function test’. In addition, lung film, sputum analysis and blood tests can be performed.
How is COPD treated?
The first thing an individual with COPD has to do is stop smoking. Cigarette addiction is a treatable disease. If the individual is unable to quit smoking on his/her own, he/she should consult a physician for this purpose. In addition, it is necessary to avoid harmful dusts and fumes, to have flu and pneumonia vaccines and to regularly use and receive training for inhaled medications. In addition to treatment, physical activity should be recommended to the patients; respiratory techniques should be taught and applied. This multidisciplinary approach, which we call pulmonary rehabilitation, is an important step in both the development of the disease and the prevention and progression of the disease. Walking is an activity that everyone can do and can provide almost all the benefits of regular physical activity.
Is COPD a preventable disease?
In the chart below, the World Health Organization has listed four key preventable risk factors in four non-infectious primary disease groups. Smoking is the common main risk factor. This means that we can prevent chronic diseases, especially COPD, if we take precautions regarding these most important factors.