What is COPD? What Are the Symptoms and Treatments for COPD?

Breathing becomes difficult as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a lung disease, progresses. It is caused by damage to the lungs, usually from smoking, and is characterized by a narrowing of the airways in the lungs. COPD is a leading cause of death worldwide and it is estimated that around 32 million people in the United States alone have the disease.

Symptoms of COPD can vary from person to person, but common signs include shortness of breath, chronic cough, chest tightness, and wheezing. As the disease progresses, individuals may also experience fatigue, weight loss, and difficulty performing daily activities. In some cases, individuals may also develop an increased risk of lung infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

There are mainly two types of COPD: chronic and emphysema bronchitis. Emphysema is a condition in which the air sacs in the lungs are damaged, making it difficult for oxygen to be exchanged in the body. Chronic bronchitis is characterized by inflammation and narrowing of the airways, which can make it difficult to clear mucus from the lungs.

The main risk factor for COPD is smoking, and the majority of individuals with the disease have a history of smoking. Other risk factors include exposure to air pollution, inhaling certain chemicals or dusts on the job, and having a family history of the disease.

The treatment for COPD aims to relieve symptoms, slow the progression of the disease, and improve quality of life. There are several different types of treatment for COPD, including:

  • Medications: bronchodilators and corticosteroids to help open up the airways and reduce inflammation, antibiotics to treat infections, and oxygen therapy to help increase the amount of oxygen in the body.
  • Lifestyle changes: Modifications to one's way of life, such as giving up smoking, adopting a nutritious diet, and exercising frequently.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation: A program that includes exercise, education and counselling to help individuals manage their COPD and improve their physical and emotional well-being.
  • Surgery: In severe cases of COPD, surgery such as lung volume reduction surgery or lung transplantation may be considered as a treatment option.

It's also important to note that COPD is a progressive disease, and it is essential to get an early diagnosis and treatment to slow the progression of the disease and improve the quality of life.

In addition to these conventional treatments, there are also some alternative therapies that may help to manage COPD symptoms. These include:

  • Yoga: Yoga can help to improve breathing and increase lung capacity.
  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese therapy that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. It may help to reduce inflammation and improve breathing.
  • Herbal supplements: Some herbal supplements, such as ginger and turmeric, have anti-inflammatory properties that may help to reduce inflammation and improve breathing.

It is important to note that alternative therapies should not be used as a substitute for conventional treatment, but rather as a complement to it.


COPD is a chronic and progressive disease that can significantly impact a person's quality of life. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to slow the progression of the disease and improve symptoms. In addition to conventional treatments, there are also alternative therapies that may help to manage COPD symptoms. Individuals with COPD should work closely with the Dr Chary to develop an individualized treatment plan that is right for them.

13 February 2023
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