Respiratory Generic Drugs F.A.Q.
What is COPD?
COPD is the abbreviation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is an independent disease with the partially irreversible restriction of the air inflow in the airways. It usually has a progressing character induced by an inflammatory reaction of lung tissues to the irritation by various pathogenic particles and gases.
The pathologic process begins in the mucosa of bronchi. As a response to the impact of external pathogenic factors the function of the secretory apparatus (hyperproduction of mucus, changes in bronchial secretions), an infection joins, a cascade of reactions leading to damage to the bronchi, bronchioles and adjacent alveoli develops.
The main diagnosis criteria are coughing, mucus and labored breathing, risk factors presence and significantly lowered forced expiratory volume.
COPD is commonly conjunction of two diseases:
– Bronchitis: the ways through which the air penetrates the lungs are in the inflamed state and generate a lot of mucus. The walls of the bronchi thicken which can induce the narrowing of the lumen of the air paths resulting in trouble breathing;
– Emphysema. In lung emphysema, the walls of the alveoli are injured and miss their elasticity. As a result, the useful area of the lungs for the interchange of gases between blood and inhaled air decreases. The result of insufficient oxygen supply to the blood is wheezing, which a person feels like a lack of air.
Over time, COPD usually worsens. It is impossible to completely stop the once started process of lung tissue damage. But you can undertake measures to slow the destruction of the alveoli in the lungs and improve the well-being of an individual suffering from the disease.
COPD is a relevant problem as the results of the disease development include limited physical performance and disability of patients.
In the US, statistically, around 6% of men and 3% of women suffer from COPD. In individuals over 55 years of age, this number increases to 10%.
What causes COPD?
– The major risk factor for the onset of COPD is nicotine smoking. Around 80-90% of the diagnosed disease is related to this reason. Nicotine smoking constantly irritates the air paths and injures the elastic fibers in the alveoli of the lungs. Passive smoking is also very harmful. The deaths among COPD patients who smoke are maximal. They quickly develop the obstruction of the airways and wheezing. Labored breathing in smokers usually develops by the age of forty while in non-smokers with the disease this age is 53-55 years.
– Another factor that raises the risk of the dysfunction onset is the inhalation of chemical vapors, dust, and polluted air for an extended period of time. Usually, the process of tissues destruction takes a lot of time before the first symptoms occur so the disease is usually diagnosed in people over 60.
– Individuals who have suffered many severe infections of the air paths are also in high risk of getting the disease. It is especially high if the diseases occurred in infancy.
– In individuals who have lung emphysema at the age of 30-40 may have a hereditary anomaly of a certain protein. Fortunately, this pathology is rare.
What are COPD symptoms?
The major symptoms are:
– Long-lasting cough;
– Mucus occurrence;
– Labored breathing, which increases with physical exertion.
Anyone can have the same symptoms in recent bronchitis or pneumonia, but if you hadn’t had any diagnosed inflammatory condition of the airways, and particularly if you have blood relatives who have COPD, you should get checked.
As COPD is a progressing disease, over time individuals who have it start having wheezing even in mild physical exercising. Breathing takes a lot of energy and people start losing weight.
In some moments, the manifestations of the disease can worsen what causes the overall deterioration of health. It is considered an exacerbation of COPD. They can vary from a minor degree to life-threatening conditions. The longer the duration of COPD, the more severe such outbreaks become.
How is COPD diagnosed?
If you have the listed signs, you should go to a respiratory specialist who will do an examination.
You can first go to your physician who will be able to identify whether you have an acute pathology such as bronchitis or pneumonia. If with the appointed therapy the symptoms do not improve within 7-14 days, you should definitely go to a pulmonologist and undergo a thorough examination:
– A doctor also conducts a patient survey asking about your smoking habits, work with any chemical substances, dust, and vapors that can irritate the lungs;
– Next, a functional test of the breathing capacity is made, for instance, spirometry;
– Besides, a doctor can appoint an X-ray examination of your lungs to see whether there are any other diseases or disorders that can cause the same symptoms.
It is crucial to get a diagnosis timely to undertake the measures to inhibit lung damage.
How is COPD treated?
The best manner you can inhibit the proliferation of the disease is to stop smoking. It is a crucial step. Regardless of the period you have been a smoker and the stage of the disease, the bad habit cessation can substantially slow the negative processes in the lungs.
If you are a non-smoker but work with chemical vapors, dust, or other particles that can damage the lungs, it is crucial for you is to better your working conditions – either work with a quality respirator or quit the hazardous job.
Besides, a respiratory specialist should appoint you the therapy that can alleviate the symptoms improve well-being, which significantly improves the quality of life. Formulations can help ease breathing, relieve or reduce shortness of breath.
The formulations used for COPD therapy include:
– Bronchodilators. These are the formulations that induce the expansion of the bronchi mainly due to the relaxation of the smooth muscles of their walls (fenoterol, Atrovent by Cipla, Salbutamol);
– Mucolytic formulations. They lead to the dilution of mucus and facilitate its evacuation from the bronchi (Bromhexine, Ambroxol);
– Antibiotics are a necessary component of the therapy for exacerbation of the disease (penicillins, cephalosporins);
– Inhibitors of inflammatory mediators or receptors for them, which inhibit the activation of substances responsible for the inflammatory process (Erespal);
– Glucocorticosteroids are hormonal formulations used for exacerbations of the disease for the relief of an attack of severe respiratory failure (prednisone).
The majority of bronchodilators are used in a form of inhaler which allows the medication to penetrate directly the lungs. But it is crucial to use only the inhaler appointed by your physician and only in the dosages chosen for you individually.
There is a rehabilitation program for individuals with lung diseases which help to manage the suffocation attacks. The specialists who work with this program consult and teach patients the technique of correct breathing in COPD to facilitate breathing, show what physical exercises can and should be used and what the recommended diet for the disease is.
With the proliferation of the disease, some patients may require courses of oxygen therapy.
In the most severe cases when medications do not work, surgery for the excision of dead areas of the lungs is made.
How can COPD be prevented?
The main prophylaxis measures that help to avoid the disease are smoking discontinuation and avoidance of unfavorable factors such as working with gases, vapors, dust, and other substances that are known to irritate the lungs. It is also substantial to treat all respiratory tract diseases without neglecting them.
Besides the prophylaxis of COPD itself, for individuals who already have it is necessary to make prophylaxis of infectious diseases of the respiratory tract as individuals with the disease are prone to developing them.
The prophylaxis measures include:
– Yearly vaccination against flu;
– Pneumococcal vaccine;
– Avoiding inhaling smoke and vapors;
– Avoiding breathing in cold and dry air (ensure moisture level at home and workplace);
– Use air filters at home;
– Do physical exercises approved by a doctor;
– Eat well not to suffer from a deficit of nutrients. If weight loss occurs, consult a doctor or nutritionist to help you create the eating plan that will ensure your needs.
What should I know about COPD?
It is a progressing disease that is manifested in increased frequency and severity of suffocation attacks. It is vital to know what to do in case of an attack. You should consult medical specialists of the respiratory system to know how to act and get prescriptions for medicines preventing suffocation and short-acting inhalers that can help in an acute attack. In case of a severe attack that isn’t stopped by the use of an inhaler, you must call an ambulance.
Individuals with the disease commonly develop depression and anxiety. If you encounter these problems, you should seek the help of a psychotherapist.