COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a lung disease that causes breathing problems. All the information about this chronic pathology.
Every year, she is responsible for 18,000 deaths on average in France, according to Public Health France. COPD is a chronic and progressive respiratory disease that affects the bronchi. Most commonly associated with other conditions, it can cause significant respiratory disability.
Definition, symptoms, stages, causes and treatment, we make a balance of this pulmonary pathology.
Definition: What is COPD?
COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary diseasecorresponds to a chronic respiratory disease affecting the bronchi. It is characterized by a slow and progressive obstruction of the airways and lungs.
COPD is most commonly associated with chronic bronchitis or yet pulmonary emphysema. In the vast majority of cases, the smoking is the cause of the diseasealthough air pollution and exposure to chemicals are also involved.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than three million people worldwide die each year from it. So it would be the third cause of death. People over the age of 45 are the most affected.
The first symptom of COPD is wet cough accompanied by sputum (spit whitish secretions) in the morning. This is called “smoker’s cough.” There is also a shortness of breath on exertion (difficulty breathing), which becomes more intense as the disease progresses. This respiratory discomfort then appears at the slightest daily gesture, altering the quality of life.
COPD also has exacerbation phases several times a year, that is, periods of marked worsening of symptoms.
COPD: different stages of development
There are several stages of development and severity of COPD, classified from 0 to 4. They are based on an indicator called FEV1, to maximum expiratory volume (of air) in one second.
- Stage 0 : This is the “risk” stage of COPD. Some chronic symptoms like wet cough can be observed. The respiratory function test is normal.
- Stage 1 (light) : FEV1 is greater than or equal to 80%, with or without the presence of chronic symptoms.
- Stage 2 (moderate) : FEV1 is between 50 and 80%. We often see a exertional dyspnea (shortness of breath) of unknown origin.
- Stage 3 (severe) : FEV1 is between 30 and 50%. This results in decreased physical abilities and a frequent need to catch your breath.
- Stage 4 (very serious) : FEV1 is then less than 30% or less than 50% with a respiratory insufficiency. Dyspnea appears at the slightest effort.
Causes and factors of COPD
You of smoking, both active and passive, is the main cause of obstructive pulmonary disease, since it is responsible for about 80% of cases, according to Inserm. The longer and more intense the consumption, the greater the risk of contracting the disease. In fact, tobacco causes mucus production in the bronchicausing its obstruction and the appearance of bronchial infections.
In addition to smoking and the consumption of cannabisthe other major risk factor for COPD ischronic exposure to polluting productswhether on the street (outdoor air pollution), at home (indoor air pollution) or at work (coal dust or silicaagricultural products, solvents, etc.).
Treatment: how to treat COPD?
The first step in the treatment of COPD is obviously elimination of disease-causing factorsThat’s it give up smoking or exposure to contaminants. This initially slows the progression of the disease.
However, there is no there is no treatment that can completely cure COPD. medications, called bronchiodilators, can help limit shortness of breath by dilating the bronchial tubes. For people with chronic respiratory failure,oxygen therapy is proposed. It is an oxygen cure administered daily.
sessions of Respiratory physiotherapy They are also indicated to improve respiratory capacity. They consist of a set of exercises that gradually allow respiratory rehabilitation.