Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, better known by its acronym COPD is a term that is used by medical professionals and laymen alike to denote a number of conditions connected by a shared cluster of symptoms related to the respiratory system. These include, among others, bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease. Most of these conditions, especially once when they begin to be characterised as root causes of COPD, are usually caused by prolonged and repeated exposure to various irritants including cigarette smoke, dust particles, fumes and other airborne pollutants.
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What are COPD symptoms?
The most commonly reported symptoms indicative of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can easily be confused with asthma symptoms, since the two overlap in majority of symptoms, including:
- Shortness of breath
- Appearance of phlegm
- Severe cough
- Wheezing (especially during physical strain)
- Chest tightness
- Need to clear throat immediately after waking up
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Lack of energy
- Unexplained weight loss (usually in later stages)
- Swelling of the ankles, feet or legs
What causes COPD?
As mentioned, in most cases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is caused by proloned and repeated exposure to various airborne irritants. However, by taking one step forward, we can mention the actual damage caused by those irritants within the airways which results in permanent scarring of the lung tissue as well as significantly increased susceptibility to infections. As a progressive condition, COPD should be treated as soon as it is diagnosed, since every day when this condition is left untreated will increase the risks of further complications.
COPD in the UK
According to the recent estimates by the NHS, more than 3 million people within the United Kingdom alone are currently living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, with roughly a third of them actually accounting for the diagnosed cases. This chilling statistic implies that two thirds of people affected by COPD are not getting the proper and necessary treatment for their condition. The experts at the NHS believe that the number of untreated patients is so large because COPD can be easily confused with asthma or even dismissed as typical in somewhat expected smoker’s cough. As this condition is progressive and can develop over long periods of time, it is not surprising that many people seem to miss it and because of that, don’t get access to the required medical attention.
How is COPD treated?
The first step in treatment of COPD always involves addressing various lifestyle factors which might be contributing to the condition. The one factor that easily stands out among the rest is, of course, smoking. Some recent studies seem to show that as much as a quarter of all active smokers will develop COPD in some form later in the future. Because of this, qutting smoking as soon as possible is considered to be the key to preventing the condition from deteriorating further. In addition to this, the doctor will try to identify if there is any secondary exposure to airborne toxins which can contribute to exacerbating the symptoms of CPOD. If there is such an issue, the doctor will provide you with advice on how to limit your exposure to harmful airborne particles.
What are the best COPD medications?
Two most commonly prescribed classes of medications used in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are mucolytics and antimuscarinics, with bronchodilators also being used in certain situations. The former group includes treatments such as Mucodyne which work by decreasing the consistency and viscosity of the mucus in the airways, thus facilitating easier expulsion of phlegm.
On the other hand, antimuscarinics such as Seebri Breezhaler, Onbrez Breezhaler or Respontin work by reducing the thightness in the smooth muscle tissue surrounding the respiratory passages, thus helping them to dilate and enable the person affected to breathe easier and with less strain.
Can I buy COPD treatment online?
Yes, it is technically possible to buy COPD treatments online in the UK. However, not every online clinic will be open to providing these types of medications. This is so mostly because COPD cannot be diagnosed that easily – we already mentioned how is it can be confused with asthma or even smoker’s cough. Because of this, the chances that the doctor might be able to correctly identify the condition without face-to-face meeting are rather slim and in order to minimise the risks of misdiagnosing the condition, most online clinics won’t offer any COPD medications to people looking to buy them for the first time.
However, if you are looking to simply renew your prescription, the situation is vastly different and it is highly likely that you will come across not one, but several different online clinics operating in the UK that will let you get the treatment from them as long as you can provide the proof that COPD has already been diagnosed and that the appropriate treatment has been prescribed.
You will still be required to fill in a customised medical questionnaire that should help the doctor employed at the online clinic to get familiar with your medical profile and history, thus allowing him to make an informed decision regarding your suitability for using the given medicine.
If everything is in order, the prescription will be renewed and the medication will be sent from the partner pharmacy to the address you provided during the sign up process.
What are the side effects of COPD medications?
The exact answer to this question will, naturally, depend on the exact medicine you might be using. As unwanted side effects of COPD treatments can vary significantly, with just a short list of more or less common and shared side effects (including headache, coughing or increased heartbeat), we recommend you take a look at individual product pages to learn more.