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Chest diseases

COPD is an abbreviated disease name consisting of the initials of the
name “Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease”.

The word CHRONIC means long standing.

The word OBSTRUCTIVE means obstructive and is used to show that the
windpipes (bronchi) are blocked in this disease.

Therefore, we can describe COPD as “a disease that causes
obstruction in the bronchi for a long time”. The worst part of this
disease is that the obstruction in the bronchi does not recover and the disease
progresses insidiously if not treated.

The most important cause of the disease is SMOKING addiction.

COPD occurs approximately 20 years after smoking a pack of cigarettes a
day. If more than one pack of cigarettes are smoked a day, this time will
be shorter. The disease usually begins to show symptoms after the age of
40. The vast majority of people diagnosed with COPD are current smokers or
those who have smoked for a long time and quit. Since the disease
progresses insidiously and smokers do not care about complaints such as cough
and sputum, patients lose a significant part of their lung capacity when COPD
is diagnosed.

COPD develops in one in five to six smokers. At least half of the
people over the age of 20 in our country are cigarette addicts. Therefore,
COPD is an important public health problem in countries like ours where smoking
is very common. In our country, there are 5 million COPD patients with the
most optimistic estimate. However, only a small number of these patients
are diagnosed. A significant number of patients are unaware of their
illness and do not go to the doctor unless their complaints such as cough,
sputum production and shortness of breath are very disturbing. An important
reason why people who are addicted to smoke do not go to the doctor for their
ailments is to avoid being warned about quitting smoking.

With cigarette smoke, harmful gases and substances fill the trachea and
air sacs. Over the years, these harmful gases and substances begin to
disrupt the structure of the bronchi and air sacs. As a result, CLOGGING
BRONCHITIS occurs with the disease of the bronchi, and AMPHYSEMA with the
destruction and disintegration of air sacs.

Here are these two diseases under the name of COPD. With smoking,
both obstructive bronchitis and emphysema develop in the bronchi. As a
result of these obstructions and deteriorations in the lungs, oxygen passage to
the blood decreases and many serious diseases occur with the lack of oxygen in
the body.

It is not possible to treat and repair these disorders. Lungs age
and deteriorate early with this disease. Because COPD is a progressive
disease. It is very difficult for a patient with COPD to completely disappear
after quitting smoking. However, the progression of the disease slows down
with smoking cessation. On the other hand, if smoking is not quitted, the
disease progresses very quickly. The drugs used for COPD are used only to
reduce the complaints of shortness of breath in patients. These drugs do
not have an effect on eliminating the disease or slowing its
progression. Therefore, smoking cessation forms the basis of COPD
treatment.

What are the symptoms of copd?

COUGH

SPUTUM

SHORTNESS OF BREATH

These complaints have been going on for a long time.

Cough and sputum production is only seen in the morning. Sputum
comes out in very small amounts. Patients usually do not care about these
complaints and accept them as a natural consequence of smoking. In fact,
producing a small amount of sputum with a non-severe cough may be an early
harbinger of a very important disease, COPD. If smoking continues and the
disease progresses, the coughs become more severe and the amount of sputum
gradually increases. Patients start expectoration at any time of the
day. Sometimes coughs begin to be suffocating.

In the early stages of the disease, shortness of breath occurs during
exertion such as running, brisk walking or climbing stairs, while shortness of
breath occurs even at rest with the progression of the disease. Generally,
complaints of cough, sputum and shortness of breath increase significantly
towards the age of 50.

All these complaints increase during the winter months, especially
during periods of intense air pollution and after flu infections.

When one or more of these complaints occur in smokers, it is necessary
to apply to a health institution immediately. Because with early diagnosis
and smoking cessation, it is only possible to get rid of this progressive
disease that cripples the lungs.

COPD is divided into four groups according to the severity of shortness
of breath.

Mild COPD

Shortness of breath is sometimes felt when heavy work is done or during
brisk walking and climbing stairs.

Mild COPD

Shortness of breath is sometimes felt when heavy work is done or during
brisk walking and climbing stairs.

Moderate COPD

Shortness of breath is often felt when heavy work is done or during
brisk walking and climbing stairs.
Sometimes, shortness of breath is felt even during daily work.
Night sleep is comfortable, there is no insomnia due to shortness of breath.

Severe COPD

During daily work, shortness of breath is usually felt.
There is severe weakness.
It is very difficult to climb stairs.
Sleep patterns are disturbed due to shortness of breath at night.

Even while sitting, shortness of breath is felt.
It becomes difficult to walk inside the room.
Cannot go to work.
As the amount of oxygen in the blood and organs decreases significantly in the
advanced stages of the disease, much more disturbances occur. These;
Profuse sweating
in the tongue, lips, fingertips on the bruising,
severe headache,
palpitations
daytime sleepiness, insomnia at night
decline in mental activities (forgetfulness, carelessness)
Excessive irritability
severe weakness, fatigue,
weight loss
sexual power reduction
stomach discomfort, abdominal bloating and indigestion,
constipation
numbness in hands and feet, tingling , burning sensation,
tremor in hands
With the progression of the disease, heart failure may occur and water
collection begins in the feet. In patients with heart failure, shortness
of breath becomes very severe in the advanced stages of the disease and the
patients become unable to leave the house. Patients in this period now stay
connected to the oxygen machine for at least half of the day.

The thing to do in order to prevent the disease from progressing too far
and the severe ailments mentioned above to occur is the ABUSE OF SMOKING.

Patients diagnosed with COPD have a very important
responsibility. Since they personally experience the harmful effects of
this disease, they have to warn their relatives and friends of cigarette
addicts and even pressure them.

 

HOW IS COPD DIAGNOSED

Because COPD is a progressive and irreversible disease, the sooner it is
diagnosed and treated, the less discomfort the disease will cause. Unfortunately,
patients with COPD often lose a significant portion of their lung capacity as
soon as they are first diagnosed. This is because they neglect the
complaints of cough, sputum and shortness of breath. With the diagnosis of
the disease in its mild period, treatment will be easier, patients will benefit
more from the treatment and the progression of the disease will be stopped.

COPD is one of the diseases that is very easy to diagnose. There
are two important features that bring this disease to mind. These;

Smoking.

Having complaints of COUGH, BALGAM and STRENGTH OF BREATH for a long
time.

Respiratory test is performed in the definitive diagnosis of
COPD This is a very easy test. The air taken with a deep breath is
blown very quickly through the plastic tube of the respiratory tester.

For early diagnosis of COPD, anyone who smokes and is over the age of 40
should have a respiratory test once a year. The risk of COPD is very high
in smokers who have long-term complaints of cough, sputum and, most importantly,
shortness of breath. These people should have a breathing test as soon as
possible.

With the respiratory test, both COPD is diagnosed and the severity of
the disease is determined. COPD treatment will be planned according to the
severity of the disease.

How is copd treated

Rules to be followed in order to be successful in the treatment of COPD;

Quitting smoking

Not working, not being in dusty and smoky environments and

It is regular medication.

“Smoking cessation” constitutes the basis of COPD
treatment. When smoking is quit, the severity of the deterioration in the
bronchi and air sacs slows down. Medicines do not prevent progression of
the disease, so they are only used to reduce shortness of breath.

A patient who cannot quit smoking should not expect benefit from
drugs. Medications can only temporarily reduce shortness of
breath. Patients who do not quit smoking will call the previous year each
year. After a few years, when the disease progresses, patients will be
unable to smoke, even if they wish. In other words, “the patient will
not quit smoking, smoking will quit the patient”. However, it will be
very difficult for a patient in this situation to do their daily work. The
retrospective regrets of such a patient and his complaints such as “I wish
I didn’t drink this shit” would not be of any help.

There are many medications used to relieve shortness of breath in COPD
patients. Some of these are used through the respiratory tract.

Respiratory drugs are used with different devices in terms of working
principles and shapes. The doses of the drugs used by the respiratory
tract are very low. However, since the drugs directly reach the
respiratory tract, their effects are very strong. However, to be
effective, they must be used with the right technique. How to use these
devices should be learned very well. If there is an error, use trials
should be made in front of the physician during the examination to correct it.

Since the dosage of the drugs is low and a very small part of the dose
used is mixed with the blood, the side effects are almost
non-existent. Respiratory drugs do not make habit, do not cause any damage
to teeth and lungs.

Oxygen therapy

Patients with very severe COPD must use oxygen continuously for at least
15 hours a day. Long-term oxygen therapy of patients whose blood oxygen
level is below the danger limit will both reduce their complaints and increase
their quality of life. Because a significant part of the problems that
occur in COPD is caused by the body not getting enough oxygen.

Oxygen tubes are not used for this purpose. Because tubes in a
short time

will be finished and these will need to be refilled. For long-term
oxygen therapy, devices in the size of a small bedside table called
“oxygen concentrator” are used. The oxygen device does not have
a tank to be filled, this machine itself produces oxygen from the room air.

Oxygen concentrator is given free of charge to patients with social
security in return for a committee report. Some simple tests are required
to document the presence of COPD severe enough to require the use of this
device for the committee report. Thus, patients who need long-term oxygen
therapy are determined.

Rules to be followed by patients receiving long-term oxygen therapy;

Oxygen should be taken for at least 15 hours a day.

Smoking should not be allowed near the oxygen device due to the fire
hazard.

The device should be kept away from the stove.

Oxygen should be taken during sleep as the blood oxygen level drops much
more at night.

The maintenance of the device should be done regularly.

Auxiliary measures in treatment

Exercise should be done as much as possible. Sitting and avoiding
exercise constantly weakens muscles and increases shortness of breath.

Heavy exercises (such as carrying heavy loads, working in the garden)
should be avoided.

One should not go outside during cold and air pollution hours.

A small amount of eating habits should be gained at frequent intervals
and at each meal.

Food should consist mostly of watery foods (soup, juicy vegetable
dishes). Shortness of breath increases after solid and heavy meals.

Foods that can cause indigestion and gas complaints should be avoided.

Plenty of fluids (water, non-acidic fruit juices, herbal teas) should be
consumed.

Complaints of patients who are overweight will increase as
well. Overweight patients should make an effort to reduce their excess
weight. For this, fatty, sweet and flour foods should be avoided.

Every year, the flu vaccine should be made in the autumn. During
flu epidemics, it should not be in crowded places. The habit of kissing on
the cheek should be abandoned to avoid infectious diseases. With the flu,
the disease suddenly gets worse, complaints become more severe, and patients
usually need to be hospitalized and treated.

When the shortness of breath is getting worse, after breathing deeply,
blow your breath out slowly by shrinking your lips like a whistle. The
more often you do this, the more relaxed you will be.

Sit on a comfortable sofa, sofa or chair with your back
straight. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your
abdomen. The hand on your chest should not move while you
breathe. Breathe in the nose saying the numbers “one,
two”. Do not move your chest while breathing, your abdominal muscles
move upwards. Then breathe out the breath you take through the nose again
by saying the numbers “one, two, three, four”. You should
continue these exercises until this breathing becomes a habit. Thus, the
breathing diaphragm muscle strengthens and you feel less shortness of breath.


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