Cigarette smoking can cause Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Awareness is important!

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Are you having troubles breathing? Or do you feel a strange tightness in your chest? It could be Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Urbanisation and fast-paced lifestyle have flooded the world with mammoth volumes of ailments that overwhelm health systems with each passing day. COPD is one of them. A survey conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that millions of people around the world suffer from moderate to severe COPD, and surprisingly do not even realise it.

A panel of experienced pulmonologists and lung surgeons at Mayom Hospital Gurgaon talks about COPD in detail.

What is COPD?

COPD is an umbrella term that refers to lung disorders. COPD makes breathing very difficult. The most common symptoms, apart from breathlessness, are sputum production and chronic cough. Cigarette smoking is the primary cause of COPD. The disease can lead to conditions like emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic asthma. Certain genetic disorders, severe air pollution, or exposure to wood dust, chemical vapours or other lung irritants are also responsible for COPD.


It is important to note that COPD develops slowly over a period of many years. Identifying the early signs and getting the right treatment is crucial. The onset of COPD may be marked by:

  • Severe breathlessness
  • Discomfort in chest
  • Persistent cough
  • Phlegm
  • Chest infections
  • Coughing up blood
  • Wheezing
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Weight loss

If not treated on time, the symptoms may grow worse. An advanced stage of CPOD may lead to serious health concerns like:

  • Tachypnea
  • Cyanosis
  • Pneumonia
  • Respiratory distress
  • Chronic wheezing
  • Peripheral oedema
  • Abnormal lung sounds
  • Hyperinflation
  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart ailments
  • Elevated jugular venous pulse
  • Depression
  • Lung cancer


Spirometry, a breathing test, is primarily conducted to diagnose COPD. A specialist may also study a patient’s medical history for a thorough diagnosis.It may also include a number of other physical examinations like sputum analysis, blood test, computed tomography (CT) scan, chest X-ray, and so on.


The treatment for COPD aims at improving the symptoms. It might include the use of bronchodilator, corticosteroids, or expectorants. Oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, or surgery may also help improving the condition.

It is advisable that a person with COPD must quit smoking at the earliest. Having a nutrient-rich diet, keeping the body hydrated, avoiding polluted environments and taking plenty of rest is also important.

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Last modified: December 1, 2016

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