Get treatment early for your COPD symptoms
(NC) It's that time of year where Canadians start to prepare for winter: getting out the jackets, putting on the snow tires and battling the endless seasonal cold. For Canadians living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), the cold weather may pose an extra threat in experiencing flare-ups or even having a lung attack – a worsening of symptoms.
Largely caused by smoking, COPD is a potentially devastating respiratory disease that results in lung damage and obstructs, or 'blocks' the airways, making it difficult for a person to breathe. The disease is sometimes referred to as emphysema or chronic bronchitis. When going outdoors, individuals living with COPD should try to avoid triggers that could irritate the lungs, such as breathing in cold air directly and going outside in strong winds. If necessary, it is recommended to loosely wrap a scarf around the nose and mouth to help warm the air prior to entering the lungs.
If you have been suffering from a cold that just doesn't go away and gets worse in cold weather, you may already be experiencing the early onset of COPD.
If you are a current or former smoker, 40 years of age or older, these are the symptoms you should watch out for:
• Extended coughing
• Regular phlegm production
• Shortness of breath when performing simple tasks
• Wheezing upon exertion or during sleep
• Frequent colds that persist
COPD is treatable at any stage of illness and can be detected using a simple noninvasive breathing test, called a spirometry test. For more information speak to your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional.
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