World COPD Day is celebrated every year on 15 November to raise awareness about the disease and provide prior knowledge about its preventive measures. This year’s theme is “Breathing is Life – Act First”. As the name suggests, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs that causes obstruction of airflow through the lungs. Although this condition usually affects adults, in some cases it can also have a significant impact on children.
But, before knowing about its risk factors, causes and symptoms, let us see what COPD is.
Dr Bandana Mishra, head of pulmonology and senior consultant at Sanar International Hospitals, said the GOLD 2023 report defines COPD as “a heterogeneous lung condition characterized by abnormalities that cause chronic respiratory symptoms (dyspnea, cough, mucus secretion, rapid To happen.” airways (bronchitis, bronchiolitis) and/or alveoli (emphysema) that cause persistent, often progressive, airflow obstruction.
This blockage may be due to damage to the bronchioles or blockage by sputum. The damage caused to the lungs by COPD is irreversible.
Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two most common infections that make up COPD and need to be diagnosed by a medical professional.
How does it affect children and adults?
Dr. Akshay Budhraja, Senior Consultant, Respiratory and Sleep Medicine at Aakash Healthcare, Dwarka, New Delhi. said, “COPD encompasses a group of lung conditions including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The severity of these two diseases can vary among individuals with COPD, which typically coexist. Despite being a progressive disease, “While COPD worsens over time, COPD is curable. Most COPD patients with appropriate care can achieve good symptom control, a high quality of life, and a lower chance of developing other related disorders.”
Talking about the condition in adults, he said it is usually diagnosed in individuals above the age of 40 who have a history of smoking or exposure to environmental toxins that irritate the lungs.
“Symptoms of COPD usually do not appear until significant damage has occurred to the lungs and worsen over time, especially if exposure to smoking continues. Common symptoms may include shortness of breath. , especially during physical activity, may include chest tightness, wheezing, recurrent respiratory infections, a chronic cough that can produce mucus, fatigue, weight loss, and swelling of the ankles, feet, or legs. People with COPD may also experience symptoms such as: There is a possibility of experiencing worsening called exacerbations which may last for several days,” he said.
Talking about children, he said that although the condition is less common, COPD in childhood is often the result of factors such as premature birth, respiratory infections and exposure to secondhand smoke.
“Chronic lung diseases are more common in premature infants as a result of underdeveloped lungs, a condition known as bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Children exposed to secondhand smoke at home are more likely to develop COPD in childhood. This happens because their lungs are developing and toxins from tobacco can cause damage to their lungs. Additionally, frequent respiratory infections in childhood can damage their lungs and, in some cases, in, can lead to the development of COPD,” he said.
“Pediatric COPD has similar symptoms to those in adults and can include chronic cough, wheezing, frequent lung infections, and shortness of breath. Additionally, childhood COPD can affect lung development and function which This in turn can affect overall development in children. Diagnosis and management of childhood COPD include careful assessment of symptoms, lung function testing, and identifying the underlying cause. Treatment usually involves avoiding irritants such as passive smoking. “This includes staying away, adequate management of respiratory infections and, in some cases, using medications or inhalers to control symptoms.”
Dr. Nevin Kishore, a senior consultant and HOD- Pulmonology at Max Hospital Gurgaon, mentioned the following: