On November 15, 2023, World COPD Day will be observed. COPD, also known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is a chronic respiratory condition. It is sometimes referred to as chronic bronchitis, airway obstruction, or emphysema.
COPD is typically caused by smoking, but continuous exposure to dust, fumes, or secondhand smoke can accelerate the progression of the disease or lead to its development. There is also a hereditary form of COPD that can occur without smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke.
Common Symptoms of COPD
The most typical symptoms of COPD include cough, mucus production, and shortness of breath. COPD is a progressive disease that includes comorbidities. Comorbidities affect the overall functioning of the entire body, not just the lungs.
COPD varies from person to person, as it consists of individual components unique to each person with the disease:
In COPD, the airways narrow, making airflow in the lungs difficult. This narrowing leads to increased mucus production, and the airways become more collapsible, especially during exertion.
COPD can also involve lung enlargement or emphysema. Similar to the airways, lung tissue loses its elasticity, and the function of lung sacs responsible for gas exchange (oxygen and carbon dioxide) decreases.
Constant inflammation of the airways leads to mucus production in the respiratory tract. Mucus can not only exacerbate symptoms but also interfere with daily activities. Accumulated mucus is an unpleasant condition, often worsening with physical activity.
COPD also includes muscle wasting. Muscle wasting, combined with respiratory symptoms, hinders the mechanical movement of the lungs. Additionally, impaired gas exchange due to the disease reduces exercise tolerance and alters breathing patterns to become shallower. As a result, symptoms like cough, mucus production, and shortness of breath occur more readily even with minimal exertion.
Maintaining muscle strength is an essential part of treatment
Early intervention is crucial for managing the disease's progression and reducing symptoms, allowing individuals to live a fulfilling life with COPD. Exercise and muscle strength maintenance are considered key aspects of COPD management, with some studies even suggesting that they are more important than medication in self-care.
The WellO2 breathing training device is an effective aid for respiratory rehabilitation. It serves as a practical tool for those with severe COPD, enhancing mucus clearance, strengthening respiratory muscles, and simultaneously deepening and calming breathing. Warm steam also helps alleviate irritation-related coughing.