Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a disease that occurs when the small airways in the lungs become damaged and narrow. People with COPD may find it difficult to breath in and out, which can make even the simplest of daily tasks such as walking up a hill or stairs, a strain.
COPD is a term used to describe three conditions.
- Emphysema, in which air gets trapped in the lungs making it very difficult to take in enough air with each breath. A key sign is breathlessness.
- Chronic bronchitis, where airways become narrower causing symptoms such as cough with excess mucus production and inflammation.
- Chronic Asthma, a chronic condition where symptoms are variable and include narrowing and inflammation of the airways.
There are several causes of COPD. These include:
- Smoking- this is the most common cause of COPD. Even ex-smokers are at risk, but less so than people who continue to smoke.
- Substances that irritate the lung – exposure to dust, gas, or fumes, over a long period of time can cause COPD.
- Genetics – some people may even inherit the tendency to get COPD, even if they have never smoked or been exposed to irritants through home life or work.
However there are a number of things we can do to maintain good lung health:
- Stop smoking: this is the single most important step towards improving lung health
- Work with your doctor and other health professionals
- Take your medicine(s) as prescribed
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet
- Avoid chest infections
- Seek help
Menarini Australia has identified, pursued and delivered new treatment options to support clinicians in the management of COPD.
More information is available from the Lung Foundation Australia however if you have any concerns or questions about your health, speak to your doctor.