Copd – causes, symptoms, diagnosis – treatment – home remedies »

COPD – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

What is COPD? The abbreviation stands for “chronic obstructive pulmonary disease“; this means chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Apart from the lungs themselves, the upper respiratory tract is also affected by the disease; as the disease progresses, other organs such as the heart may be damaged (cor pulmonale).

The disease is characterized by partial reversible constriction of the bronchi. Since COPD occurs mainly in smokers, many sufferers consider the disease symptoms to be “normal smoker’s cough” and delay the visit to the doctor.

Profile: COPD

    Name (s): COPD; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Chronic Obstructive pulmonary DiseaseType of disease: chronic diseaseDistribution: Worldwide First mention of the disease: Already known since ancient times treatable: Mostly irreversible Type of trigger:infections; SmokeHow many sufferers: 600 million worldwide Which specialist should you visit:GP; pulmonologist

What is the COPD?

The name COPD derives, as already mentioned, from the EnglishChronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease “. This is a chronic inflammation of the lungs that inhibits the supply of air, but in addition, exhalation may be considerably more difficult.

All in all, breathing or rather the ability to breathe properly worsens. Furthermore, chronic cough, sputum sputum and a very characteristic wheezing or whistling are added.

This is caused by what is popularly known as “smoker’s lung”, but not only by the smoking of tobacco. Any kind of prolonged lung load can greatly increase the onset of this condition. These include environmental toxins, gases from exhausts and factories and so on.

emphysema & bronchitis

Not only does this disease increase the strain on the lungs, it also increases the risk of possible heart disease. Pulmonary emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the most common causes of COPD.

The latter is a constant inflammation of the bronchi, which supply the alveolar with oxygen. This is not only painful, but also severely limits the mobility and quality of life of those affected.

In addition, chronic bronchitis is also the main reason for the particularly high mucous secretions, or the high-frequency of ejecting the lung from the lung.

Emphysema usually occurs as a result of cigarette smoking, but they sometimes show up for other reasons, although rarely. They express themselves in an irreparable destruction of certain regions of the lung. This consequently causes a limitation of the lung function, which can not be recovered.

Nevertheless, a COPD is treatable. Although the causes can not be eradicated as a rule, but you can use a good treatment to reduce the symptoms to the extent that a certain level of quality of life is maintained. In addition, it also reduces the susceptibility to other diseases of the lung or the respiratory system.

causes & trigger

What causes lead to COPD?

The risk of disease increases with the number of cigarettes smoked daily and with the number of years spent smoking. The smoke triggers inflammation of the bronchial mucosa; the swelling of the bronchial mucosa narrows the bronchi.

In addition, a secretion is formed, which clogs the bronchi and forms the breeding ground for a bacterial superinfection. Therefore, COPD is a progressive lung disease that, if left untreated, is likely to lead to emphysema.

risk factors

Potential risk factors are:

    Smoking and asthma: Asthmatics who, despite their Le >symptoms & sign

The development is gradual. Shortness of breath initially occurs only during exercise, later also at rest. Typical symptoms are cough, shortness of breath and expectoration, possibly chest tightness and wheezing. There are dreaded phases of symptom worsening associated with severe respiratory distress, fever, nausea, fatigue, depression and confusion.

Here’s another one Overview the potential symptoms:

COPD causes respiratory problems
Shutterstock / Janews

  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, shortness of breath (especially in case of physical activity)
  • Panting or whistling, sometimes even wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • The need to clean the throat immediately after getting up (this is due to overproduction of mucus)
  • Common sputum sputum (may be clear or clear, green, yellow or black-red)
  • Blue tarnishing of lips and fingernails (cyanosis)
  • Chronic and permanent new respiratory infections in general and / or lung in particular
  • Fatigue, exhaustion, lack of strength
  • Weight loss without intervention of the person concerned
  • Swelling in joints, legs and feet

In addition, a so-called exacerbation often occurs in those affected. This causes the symptoms to get worse over a period of time. This is not wrongly considered a very dreaded phenomenon among the sufferers of this suffering. If such a systematic deterioration of the condition persists for longer than 24 hours, the person concerned should seek medical help immediately as this may indicate a lung infarct.

diagnosis & recognition

The doctor asks the patient about the occurrence of cough, mucus and respiratory distress in the context of the anamnesis. During the physical examination, the doctor pays attention to breathing sounds and an extension of the exhalation.

A bronchospasmolytic test, in which spirometry is performed before and after inhalation of a bronchodilating agent, is used to distinguish against asthma. For diagnosis, the physician may also perform a blood gas analysis, i. to measure the oxygen and carbon dioxide content of the blood, and to arrange the X-ray of the lung.

Based on the results of spirometry, different degrees of severity are distinguished according to the gold standard. GOLD stands for “Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases”. These severity levels include the risk group where spirometry provides normal scores, and the mild, moderate, severe, or very severe COPD stages. The drug treatment is based on these severity levels.

COPD severity levels

Within modern conventional medicine, there are two classification systems that serve to determine the severity of COPD. These are the new and the old “gold guideline”. Although the newer is considered more accurate, nonetheless, the old version still finds application and the preference of some physicians. As a rule, however, it can be assumed that the newer guideline for determination will be used.

This subdivides the present suffering, like its predecessor, into four stages, to which in turn different values ​​are assigned. These are FEV (“forced expiratory volume” also known as “one second capacity”), the CAT value and the Modified British Medical Research Council (mMRC) grade..

It is now necessary to bring these into line, which in turn measures the severity of the present COPD. Here you go from A to D, where A represents the weakest and D the strongest expression.

The exact determination of these values ​​is associated with a great deal of effort and beyond that difficult to access for laymen. Nevertheless, as a layman, one can rely on the relevant competence of his attending physician.

Determining the severity level is not important to the medical practitioner, but also indicates how to design any treatment to make it as effective as possible. Likewise, it can be determined from the data obtained whether the disease is normative or unusual.

Brief summary of the individual severity levels:

  • A or I: Low risk of exacerbation, possibly mild cough with or without sputum
  • B od. II: Lower to medium risk of exacerbation, with coughing, expectoration and possibly respiratory distress
  • C od. III: Moderate to high risk of exacerbation, with cough, sputum, dyspnea
  • D or IV: High risk of exacerbation, with cough, sputum, shortness of breath and chronic lung problems (bronchitis etc.)

frequency & diagnostic data

Fortunately, COPD is on the decline worldwide. The reason for this is the dwindling interest in tobacco products, which was fueled by education campaigns, tax increases or prohibitions on smoking in public buildings. Nevertheless, the numbers of those affected are still alarmingly high.

In Germany, it is estimated that 4 to 9 million sufferers, worldwide it should be up to one billion people. The trends in developing countries are still rising. This can be attributed to poor working conditions and poor living conditions. Furthermore, it should also be noted that tobacco consumption is still very high, especially in countries of the so-called Third World.

The diagnostic data, In other words, the findings obtained from the diagnosis are, as already mentioned, of immense importance for the treatment. This includes the above classification of severity as well as the finding of the disease itself. This is not least the case because the therapy is primarily based on the severity of the case and is not general.

In general, despite general superficial equality, lung diseases are usually very case-specific and are shaped and dependent on many individual factors. One more reason to make targeted use of the diagnostic data and derive the perfect treatment from it.

complications & consequences

COPD can cause many complications, including:

  • Frequent infections of the respiratory system – Affected persons are at greater risk of contracting illnesses such as the flu or pneumonia. This is due to the general weakening of their lungs. In addition, such additional infections or inflammation are particularly dangerous because they damage the already severely attacked lung tissue even more.
  • Problems with the heart – Even for some unknown reasons, the present disease has a negative effect on the health of the heart. Also, the risk of heroin infarction is increased.
  • lung cancer – There is a generally higher chance for those affected to develop lung cancer. A smoking cessation can counteract this if necessary.
  • High blood pressure (in the pulmonary vessels – COPD can lead to increased blood pressure in the lungs, in this case it is called a so-called pulmonary hypertension.
  • depressions – In addition to all the above-mentioned physical side effects and concomitants, can also set in affected people a depression. This is especially reinforced by the fact that you can no longer pursue your usual everyday life as usual due to the frequent respiratory distress. In addition, one is massively limited in all aspects of daily life.

When to the doctor?

When should you go to the doctor?

Of course, it would be appropriate, as is the case with every other illness, to schedule a visit to the doctor as early as possible in order to be able to tackle the underlying disease as thoroughly as possible. This is easier said than done in the case of COPD.

This disease does not happen overnight, but is a creeping process that sometimes takes decades to fully develop. The symptoms, which are only slightly manifested, often only distract attention from the actual underlying condition. As a result, neither doctor nor patient can do much with it.

Most people think that you are simply suffering from a cough or a smoker’s lung, although you are actually developing a solid COPD. That is why it is certainly not harmful to address your doctor directly to the eventual illness. This is especially useful if you belong to a risk group.

treatment & therapy

COPD sufferers have a reduced life expectancy, depending on the severity of the disease. Through therapy and healthy living, life expectancy can be increased. The goal of treatment is to relieve the symptoms and prevent the progression of the disease. The treatment includes the avoidance of the disease triggers.

The drug therapy is adapted to the severity of the disease and is done by inhalation of bronchodilator drugs (bronchodilators). These include beta-2 mimetics and anticholinergics.

The inhalation of cortisone is anti-inflammatory. In severe cases, theophylline can be used; also a long-term oxygen therapy, in which oxygen is inhaled daily for 16 hours, may be indicated. Self-management is an important part of therapy. COPD sufferers should pay attention to their weight and strengthen their lungs with endurance sports and breathing exercises.

prevention & prevention

One should be aware of the fact that the majority of COPD cases would be easily avoided if one took some precautionary measures. However, this can sometimes be difficult. Especially in developing countries, people often have no choice but to accept their disease-promoting living conditions and to live with the consequences.

In our latitudes, however, development of the disease would rarely be necessary. Below is a list with Measures for prevention:

  • Give up smokingQuit smoking, or even better not to start smoking, is probably the most effective mechanism to be used to effectively tackle COPD. World-led campaigns have been contributing to this for some time. It should also be noted that the chance of developing COPD decreases by about 40% after smoking cessation. Although you can never reach the level of a non-smoker, but still the task of this habit is very conducive to the recovery and health of the lungs.
  • Change of job: As far as one is professionally surrounded by a lot of dust and chemicals that hit the lungs, it may be advisable to change jobs. This is certainly easier said than done, but in more extreme cases it is worth considering. It should also be kept in mind that the employment office sometimes pays for illness-related retraining.
  • vaccinations: Already affected by the disease, it can help if they get vaccinated against flu viruses. This precludes overloading the lungs in advance.

Prognosis for healing

The prognosis for the cure of COPD is not too bad – in so far as it can be addressed in time so. ZWe can never 100% regenerate the function of the lung, but a large part of the symptoms can be treated well with medication.

Unfortunately, with very late discoveries of this suffering, all help comes too late. Although the symptoms in these cases are still medically relieve, but the death of the patient is usually no longer avert. Therefore, it is in the interest of every potentially endangered to seek help as soon as possible and not to dismiss even the smallest suspicions as a mere cough.

alternative medicine

Alternative treatments for COPD

Breathing exercises can strengthen the lungs
Pixabay / Clerk Free Vector Images

Very commonly used alternative treatments include:

  • Breathing Exercises – Strengthen the lungs and make breathing easier from exhaling
  • Blowpipe Shooting – Regular use of the blowpipe is like strength training for the lungs. In some cases, the lung volume of patients could be increased by up to 20%
  • Sporting exercise – Sports and fitness also help the lungs to recover and also strengthens a strong physique and the immune system

In addition, there are several other alternative treatments. These are best discussed with the responsible physician or alternative practitioner.

Which alternative remedies are recommended?

Many regional alternative medicines have specialized lung-specific treatments. Both Ayurveda, as well as Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as European healing practice have such.

Aromatherapy, massages, acupuncture as well as sunbathing, sauna and much more. are recommended here in principle.

First, all treatments are useful as long as they do no harm to the lung, such as extreme exercise, etc. In addition, follow the above-mentioned therapeutic measures for the purpose of an overview.

COPD hood

Helpful home remedies for COPD

Home remedies for lung diseases are very numerous. This is because this vital, but very sensitive organ has always been hard hit throughout history. Be it in the dusty and soot-infested cities of the Industrial Revolution, the streets of the last century polluted by factory fumes and exhaust fumes or in the biting and corrosive fog of medieval tanneries – the lungs have been remembered by people under heavy environmental stress.

That is why there are many good and effective home remedies for their strengthening. While there are none specifically for COPD, it is a principle that everything that is good for general strengthening of the lungs also helps fight COPD.

medicinal herbs & medicinal plants

  • Elecampane
  • fennel
  • primrose
  • sundew
  • violet
  • hyssop

All of the medicinal plants mentioned here should either be taken in a fresh form or crushed beforehand in a mortar. In addition, they can also be infused with hot water and used as tea or infusion. These can be prepared by a naturopath or privately.

Essential oils

The following essential oils can be used:

Essential oils are usually only as aromatherapy, i. in a designated fragrance lamp to use.

The mixture in the fragrance lamp depends on the personal condition and the desired effect and can be clarified closer with a knowledgeable person if necessary.


  • Antimony tartaricum
  • Arsenicum album
  • ipecac
  • Carbo vegetabilis
  • Sambucus niger
  • Phosphorus

Dosage and administration should be taken from the package leaflet or requested from the responsible health practitioner.

Cell salts

  • No. 6Calum sulfuricum
  • No. 10Sodium sulphuricum
  • No. 8 Sodium chloratum
  • No. 20Kalium Sulfuricum Aluminum
  • No. 21 Zincum chloratum
  • No. 4 potassium chloride

Dosage and administration should be taken from the package leaflet or requested from the responsible health practitioner.

diet & nutrition

There are no special diets that would be particularly helpful compared to COPD. Nevertheless, a general healthy diet can always contribute to the strengthening of the immune system and general well-being.

However, it is advisable to lose weight if necessary. Because heavy obesity also puts a heavy strain on the lungs.

FAQ – questions & reply

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about COPD.

I stopped smoking – my COPD is now gone?

No. It will not disappear completely. But the symptoms improve noticeably and you can lead a freer and more self-determined life than before. This will save you money if you stop smoking, which you can invest in a supportive cure, for example.

Can COPD be triggered by passive smoking??

No, this is not possible by passive smoke absorption alone. Nevertheless, living with a smoker can burden and damage one’s own lungs. This is not the nicotine, but the smoke itself.

How long can I survive with a COPD??

That depends entirely on the severity. Sometimes people with a mild variant of this disease have normal life expectancies. For those who are more affected, it can still end pretty quickly.

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Christina Cherry
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