There are nearly 3 million patients with COPD in our country.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) occurs with respiratory symptoms and airflow limitation due to anomalies developing in the airways and alveoli as a result of significant exposure to harmful particles and gases. COPD is a common, preventable and treatable disease.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF COPD?
• Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities
• Wheezing and shortness of breath
• Chest tightness
• Sputum that may be white, yellow or green in color
• Cyanosis (a bluish discoloration of the skin, especially around the mouth, eyes, and nails)
• Frequent respiratory infections
• Fatigue and weakness
• Unwanted weight loss (in advanced stages)
• Swelling in the ankles, feet or legs
THE MOST IMPORTANT RISK FACTOR TOBACCO USE
Cigarette smoke is the most common risk factor for the development of COPD worldwide. The use of different types of tobacco (hookah, cigar, pipe, etc.) and environmental tobacco smoke also contribute to the development of COPD by increasing the gas load of the lungs. The most important risk factors in COPD patients who have never smoked are increased age, previous asthma diagnosis, exposure to organic dusts in the workplace, history of severe respiratory tract infection in childhood, and low education level, especially in women.
9 out of 10 COPD DO NOT KNOW THEIR DISEASE!
Although COPD is a very important public health problem, it is an underdiagnosed disease that can usually be recognized in the late period.
According to the results of our country in Adana in 2003, only 1 out of 10 people with COPD in Turkey know that they have COPD.
When the 2000 report of the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Health within the scope of the "National Disease Burden and Cost Efficiency Project" is analyzed, COPD ranks 3rd among the top 10 causes of death. When other causes of death are examined, two more causes related to COPD stand out; Respiratory tract infections are in the 5th place and lung cancer is in the 7th place. COPD is a serious cause of death and illness. Of 600 million COPD patients, 3 million die annually. The enormous economic and social burden caused by COPD is increasing.
The most important reason for the late diagnosis of COPD by physicians is the non-specificity of the disease-specific history and physical examination findings.
A HIGH COST ILLNESS
The most important reason for the increase in the disease burden in COPD is the gradual increase in active and environmental tobacco exposure. COPD is a disease with high costs due to direct causes such as diagnosis and treatment expenditures, and indirect causes such as lost work force, premature death, family expenses due to illness.
BREATHABLE MUST BE CONSIDERED
COPD is usually seen in the middle-aged group and is a slowly progressive disease. Patients with COPD usually see the signs of the disease in the early stages as natural signs of smoking and old age, and they consult a doctor when the symptoms of the disease, especially shortness of breath, increase.
WHAT ARE THE FACTORS AFFECTING THE SEVERITY OF COPD?
There are two important factors that determine the severity of COPD: Exacerbations and comorbidities. An exacerbation is an acute deterioration of the patient's symptoms beyond the usual daily changes to such an extent that the patient's symptoms worsen and require a change in regular treatment.
Exacerbations cause frequent hospitalizations, deaths, and a dramatic reduction in quality of life. The most important causes of COPD exacerbations are infections and air pollution. Therefore, the risk of exacerbation increases in the winter months.