Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is a disease that causes destruction of airways in the lungs. In the United States, it’s the fourth highest cause of death. Every year, more than 85,000 people die from COPD.
In most of cases, the root cause for COPD is smoking or consumption of tobacco. Naturally, COPD causes a number of health problems and reduces the life expectancy of those who suffer from it. If detected and treated early, life expectancy can be greatly increased, and if smoking is stopped immediately, lung has the capacity to recover dramatically. This, in turn, increases the life expectancy.
In cases where the intensity of COPD has developed beyond the initial stages, giving up smoking alone may not help increase life expectancy. In such cases, oxygen therapy is given and the patient must inhale oxygen through a mask or nasal cannulae placed beneath his nostrils. The patient needs to purchase oxygen tanks for home use, or portable versions for travel. Nowadays, oxygen concentrator machines that use air to produce oxygen are effective replacements for traditional oxygen tanks.
In many cases, when COPD is in its final stages, even oxygen therapy may not help the patient. In such cases transplantation of the lungs may be the only way of increasing life expectancy. Transplantation is suggested to those patients whose life expectancy is felt to be less than two to three years. However, at this stage, there is no average to determine the life expectancy of a patient.
If COPD is detected in a person, giving up smoking is the best way to increase life expectancy. Other treatments like oxygen therapy, exercise and transplantation will also help, but you cannot fight COPD unless you quit smoking.