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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Treatment

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease commonly known as COPD is a group of progressive inflammatory lung diseases that block airflow making it difficult to breathe. COPD is a long-term condition, and, in many cases, it makes it difficult for those affected to breathe. Individuals suffering from COPD are at a higher risk of developing other conditions like lung cancer and heart disease.

Causes of COPD

Some of the common causes of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease include:

  • Tobacco smoking – this is the most common cause of COPD
  • Exposure to burning cooking fuel in areas that are poorly ventilated
  • Exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke
  • Long-term inhalation of dust
  • Exposure to fumes
  • Genetic predisposition

Symptoms of COPD

Common symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Coughing up a significant amount of mucus
  • Shortness of breath
  • The need to clear the throat (especially after waking up)
  • Wheezing when you are breathing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Frequent colds or flu
  • Blue fingernails
  • Low energy / fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Swelling of the feet

Diagnosis of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease include

During the diagnosis of COPD, your doctor will request you to detail any symptoms you may be experiencing, medical history, whether you smoke or have been exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke, chemicals, dust, or fumes especially at work. A physical exam and breathing tests can also be conducted. This is done so as to determine whether the patient has an ongoing cough.

Spirometry is the most common test conducted in the diagnosis of COPD. During this test, the patient is asked to breathe into a large, flexible tube that’s connected to a spirometer. This machine will measure how much air the patient’s lungs can hold and how fast he/she can blow air out of them.

The doctor may recommend other tests to rule out other lung problems like asthma or heart failure. The tests might include:

  • Chest x-rays
  • CT scan which can tell the doctor if the patient needs surgery or if he/she has lung cancer
  • Aerial blood gas test. This measures how well the patient’s lungs are bringing in oxygen and taking out carbon dioxide
  • Laboratory tests to determine the cause of the patient’s symptoms or rule out other conditions

Types of COPD

The term Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a general terminology used when an individual has one or more of the following conditions:

  • Chronic bronchitis: Persistence of cough, shortness of breath, and mucus that lingers for at least 3 months to 2 years in a row, is an indication that an individual has bronchitis. When an individual has bronchitis, he or she loses cilia, which are hairs that line the bronchial tubes and help move mucus out.
  • Refractory asthma: This is a type of asthma whereby the symptoms and asthma attacks are frequent. This type does not respond to normal asthma medications.
  • Emphysema: This is a condition that occurs as a result of damage to an individual’s lungs’ air sacs (alveoli) which destroy the walls inside them causing them to merge into one big air sac. An individual will experience less oxygen supply to the blood because it he/she is unable to absorb oxygen. Additionally, shortness of breath occurs as a result of air getting trapped inside the lungs since the individual is unable to breath it out.

Complications of COPD

Some of the complications that may occur as a result of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease include:

  • Heart problems
  • Lung cancer
  • High blood pressure in the lung arteries
  • Depression, which can occur as a result of COPD rendering him/her unable perform their day to day activities
  • Respiratory infections

Treatment of COPD

It is important to note that there’s no specific cure for COPD, thus the main goal for treatment is to ease the symptoms and slow down the disease. COPD specialists will also see the need to prevent or treat any complications and improve the patient’s overall quality of life.

Medical Treatment

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation: This is a program that includes exercise, disease management, and counseling to help the patient stay active
  • Oxygen therapy: This is done to help the patient reduce shortness of breath, protect organs and enhance the quality of life
  • Antibiotics: Are prescribed to fight bacterial infections
  • Corticosteroids: Are drugs that reduce airway inflammation. These can be inhaled swallowed
  • Quitting smoking through counselling
  • Vaccination to reduce COPD flareups
  • Intubation and ventilation to aid in breathing

Surgical Intervention

In cases where the conservative treatments mentioned above fail, surgery may be an option. The surgical procedures that can be recommended include:

  • Lung transplant: This is done when there is severe damage to the lung where it is removed and replaced with a healthy one from a viable donor
  • Bullectomy: This involves removal of large air spaces that form when air sacs collapse in order to improve the flow of air
  • Lung volume reduction surgery: This is the removal of small damaged parts of the lungs in order to accommodate more oxygen


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Screening

Introductory Offer Package Price – AED 1,000

  • Consultation with Respiratory Consultant
  • Pulmonary Function Test
  • Diffusing Capacity of Lung for Carbon Monoxide (DLCO) Test
  • Chest X-Ray