What is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and how is it treated?

What is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a disease caused by lung disorders. which is a group of chronic pneumonia This is caused by damage to the lungs causing breathing problems. Including having symptoms of emphysema and chronic bronchitis as well, such as coughing with phlegm, shortness of breath, chest tightness, etc.

Symptoms of COPD

The symptoms of this disease will become more severe over time. In the early stages there may be no symptoms or only mild symptoms. The severity of this condition depends on the damage to the lungs. The most common symptoms are as follows:

  • A persistent cough and phlegm, especially in the morning after waking up
  • having shortness of breath time to do daily activities, especially when exerting
  • Difficulty breathing, chest tightness, and wheezing sound in the throat
  • Lung infections are common.
  • Other symptoms may occur. If the symptoms are more severe, such as coughing up blood, purple lips and nails, easily tired, weight loss, swollen arms, legs or ankles If you have any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor for further treatment.

Other complications

  • Pulmonary hypertension Due to emphysema, the blood pressure in the lungs is increased.
  • respiratory tract infection In which COPD patients have a chance of getting flu, flu, pneumonia and other diseases caused by respiratory tract infections. This can make it difficult to breathe and there may be lung tissue loss.
  • Heart disease Patients are more likely to have heart disease. acute myocardial infarction
  • osteoporosis due to receiving corticosteroids
  • Pneumothorax, or lung rupture due to structural damage to the lungs causing air to flow into the chest cavity
  • Lung cancer, as there are risk factors in common with many causes. especially smoking
  • Depression because the patient is unable to do normal activities. Until feeling depressed, stressed and sad until the negative emotions that cause depression

Causes of COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is caused by inflammation of the lungs, both the lungs, bronchi, and pulmonary blood vessels. due to exposure to substances that cause irritation for a long time Causing the bronchi to gradually constrict or may be obstructed without being able to restore the original condition However, the cause and risk may arise from

  1. Smoking, or even those who do not smoke, but get a lot of cigarette smoke This is a common cause. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4000 chemicals that can irritate the lungs and lead to chronic inflammation.
  2. Air pollution such as dust, exhaust smoke, including breathing in toxic chemicals for a long time
  3. Genetic diseases, such as those caused by Alpha-1-Antitrypsin Deficiency, are enzymes produced in the liver and sent to the lungs to prevent lung damage.
  4. Other risk factors, such as people with asthma and smoking The older the age, the greater the risk. Premature babies are more at risk than normal children.

COPD Diagnosis

  • Spirometry, a method to measure the volume of air you breathe in and out of your lungs including the efficiency of the lungs It measures the amount of air the patient can exhale in one second (FEV1) compared to the total exhaled air volume. by percentage When taking into account the results and the symptoms of the patient, it can tell the severity of the disease as follows.
violenceSupposedly FEV1 %
Slightly (GOLD 1)≥80
Medium (GOLD 2)50–79
Violent (GOLD 3)30–49
Very intense (GOLD 4)<30 or respiratory failure
  • chest radiograph or chest x-ray to distinguish diseases with similar conditions as well as diagnose the presence of other complications
  • CT scan (CT scan) to rule out lung cancer Including looking at the distribution of emphysema to be used in conjunction with the treatment of COPD with surgery.
  • an arterial blood gas test, which is another way to check the efficiency of the lungs by looking at the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide
  • other tests to diagnose the cause of certain symptoms or cut other illnesses
Spirometer examination
Spirometer examination

Assessing the severity of COPD

COPD can be classified into four levels of severity:

Level 1 is mild.

Patients rarely show symptoms. But there may be more severe symptoms, for example, the patient has a chronic cough and produces phlegm. In which the treatment at this stage can use bronchodilators.

Level 2 Intermediate

The patient begins to have noticeable symptoms such as coughing, producing a lot of phlegm, and difficulty breathing. Treatment at this stage requires long-acting bronchodilators.

Level 3 Severe

The symptoms of the disease occur more frequently. Sometimes it can be severe and acute. making it difficult for the patient to perform various activities

Level 4 is very intense.

The patient's symptoms are so severe that they are unable to perform daily activities. Including the potential for various complications

treatment and prevention

  1. Quitting smoking, because tobacco smoke is a major cause of COPD. Quitting smoking will improve your breathing. and also resulting in worsening symptoms
  2. Avoid inhaling air pollutants, both dust and toxic fumes, that can aggravate symptoms.
  3. Use of medication to alleviate symptoms The drug must be used according to the level of severity and symptoms. The group of drugs used in this treatment includes
  4. Bronchodilators help relax the muscles in the respiratory tract, reduce coughing and shortness of breath, which are of 2 types: short-acting and long-acting.
  5. corticosteroids which must be used in combination with bronchodilators to treat severely ill patients
  6. Antibiotics to treat symptoms caused by infection or acute exacerbation
  7. Other medications, such as theophylline, can help ease breathing and prevent relapses.
  8. useBiPAP ventilator
  9. oxygen therapy, e.g.Oxygen Concentrator or oxygen tank Because patients with severe symptoms will have insufficient oxygen. Therefore, oxygen therapy is required to provide sufficient oxygen, which may be used for a short time or a long time depending on the severity of the condition.
  10. Surgery if drug therapy doesn't work. Therefore, surgery to reduce the volume of the lungs or surgery to remove large emphysema that presses on the adjacent lung tissue or surgery to transplant the lungs.
  11. Other treatments, such as pulmonary rehabilitation to improve the quality of life Including controlling the symptoms from worsening by exercising properly. eat healthy food


  1. สวัสดีค่ะรบกวนสอบถามค่ะพอดีญาติเป็นโรคนี้ ไอตลอด อยากรู้ว่าสามารภติดต่อเด็กได้หรือไม่ค่ะเพราะลูกชอบไปเล่นกับเขาไอตลอดค่ะ

    1. โรคปอดอุดกั้นเรื้อรัง (COPD) ไม่ใช่โรคติดต่อครับ เแต่กิดจากการสูบบุหรี่ มลพิษทางอากาส ฯลฯ ครับ


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