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Among all the respiratory diseases, COPD is a silent killer. Most patients are asymptomatic in the early stage of the disease, and many people miss the opportunity of early treatments. If you have frequent cough, sputum, wheeze, chest tightness, you’d better to see the doctor and check the lung function for COPD screening. COPD has a high morbidity and mortality rate and is now the fourth leading cause of death in the world.  The World Health Organization has designated Wednesday in the third week of November as World COPD Day to raise people’s awareness of the disease. 

What is COPD?

COPD is the short for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is a term generally referring those chronic airway obstructive diseases. Characterized by continuous expiratory flow restriction, it is often progressive and is related to chronic inflammatory responses of the airway and lungs to toxic particles or gases. It is a common chronic disease that can be prevented and treated. The symptoms of COPD are chronic cough, sputum, chest tightness, wheeze, dyspnea , et al. 

Who are at risk for COPD?


The most common cause of COPD is smoking. About 80-90% of COPD patients are smokers or have ever smoked. The severity of the disease is strongly related to the amount and duration of smoking. People who smoke a lot are the most at risk. In addition, population aging, air pollution, kitchen smog, exposure to occupational dust, childhood living conditions and respiratory infections also increase the risk of COPD. 

How to prevent COPD?

Once COPD is diagnosed, irreversible damage to lung structure and function can't be recovered. Therefore, it is very important to prevent the occurrence of COPD. The main preventive measures include:

Stop smoking, prevent teenagers from smoking, and help those who are willing to quit smoking.

Prohibit the open burning of straw, leaves and other biofuels and avoid household coal burning. Pay attention to occupational protection for workers exposed to dust and inhalable chemicals. Prevent tobacco, biofuels and polluted air exposure for women, the elderly and pregnant women. Pay attention to the room ventilation and infection prevention for infants and young children.

Early detection, diagnosis and treatment of COPD. The course of COPD is generally divided into three stages. The first stage is chronic bronchitis, mainly manifested as frequent cough, sputum and wheezing in cold seasons, and the symptoms can be improved after medication. The second stage showed shortness of breath after activities, such as panting after strenuous exercise or climbing stairs. The third stage is pulmonary heart disease, in addition to wheezing, the patient may have heart enlargement, cardiac dysfunction and even heart failure.

How to treat COPD? 


The aim of COPD treatment is to reduce symptoms as much as possible, slow the decline in lung function, and prevent and treat complications. Treatment measures are as follows:

The aim of COPD treatment is to reduce symptoms as much as possible, slow the decline in lung function, and prevent and treat complications. Treatment measures are as follows:

 Quitting smoking is the most important for those smoking people and also is avoiding the second-hand smoke.

Avoiding contact with lampblack, dust and other harmful particles or gases in environment, if unavoidable, effective protective masks should be wearing.

Vaccination of pneumococcal vaccine and influenza vaccine, preventing cold, influenza and other respiratory tract transmitted diseases, avoiding the acute exacerbation of COPD .

Medication with the instruction of respiratory specialist. The main treatment is bronchodilators inhaling. Some patients may also need corticosteroids inhaling. In addition to medication, some patients may require long-term home oxygen therapy or noninvasive ventilation.

Rehabilitation training on the basis of medication. For example, abdominal breathing is used for breathing muscle exercises, labile breathing is performed to avoid rapid shallow breathing, and systemic muscle training is carried out by means of walking, climbing stairs, treadmill and so on.

Dietary nutrition helps to improve the prognosis of patients with COPD. Patients should maintain a diet high in protein, calories , fiber, low in carbohydrate, take in a variety of vitamins, keep from food that is likely to cause flatulence and indigestion, and limit the salt intake.

Have good sleep, more sun exposure and a variety of outdoor activities, maintain good mentality, keep in warm and avoid catching cold.