COPD Symptom Tracker

COPD is an acronym for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is a group of obstructive disease of lung diseases that affect our respiratory system which differs from the restrictive diseases of the lungs. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two types that are included in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Definition of COPD

COPD is defined, according to the World Health Organization, as a group of lung diseases characterized by chronic obstruction of the lung’s airflow. This chronic obstruction interferes with normal breathing, and the disease is not fully reversible. If not diagnosed in time, COPD can prove to be a life-threatening lung condition.

Causes of COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases are caused by several factors. However, smoking is the most common cause of chronic bronchitis. People who are in the habit of smoking in any form are at a higher risk of developing the disease than non-smokers.

Some non-smokers with congenital deficiency of alpha-one antitrypsin in their bodies suffer from the COPD disease called emphysema.

Other causes of COPD are exposure to fumes and gases, second-hand smoke in the form of pollution passive smoking, dust, fumes, etc.

Symptoms and diagnosis of COPD

The signs and symptoms of COPD are very distinctive. It is said that if COPD is underdiagnosed, it can prove to be fatal for life. There is a term called “smoker’s cough.”. A smoker’s cough is specific to chronic bronchitis.

Pink puffers and blue puffers are the terms used for patients with emphysema and chronic bronchitis, respectively.  The symptoms begin with a cough and mild shortness of breath. This shortness of breath then progresses and sometimes happens with exertion as well.

Cough is the most prominent feature of COPD. The cough is always productive, and a copious amount of mucus is produced. To label a patient with COPD, it is a must that the patient suffers from this cough for three consecutive months. These episodes must happen within two years. Coughing is sometimes so severe that it results in rib fractures or the patient loses consciousness for a while due to a prolonged interruption in oxygen supply.

The rest of the diagnosis is made by clinical examination. On chest auscultation, a wheeze is present that doesn’t clear after coughing. With time, extreme coughing results in a barrel-shaped chest, which can be seen clinically.

Advanced stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases result in cor pulmonale, and heart function is also compromised. As a result of cor pulmonale, swollen legs, bulging neck veins, and depression result.

COPD symptom tracker

The COPD symptom tracker is a Performa that is used for establishing the diagnosis of the disease. Since we cannot label every coughing patient as having COPD, we need to track the symptoms of the patient to firmly establish the diagnosis.

The patient’s name, sex, age, and occupation are the most important parts of the form. The smoking history of the patient is asked because COPD has a really strong association with smoking. The main symptoms are then added in the columns, and their frequency is noted down over weeks and months.

COPD Symptom Tracker

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