You step outside under the stars and look up, amazed at what you see. And while the cosmos and galaxies glow back at you in utter beauty, it still isn’t enough. You reach for something in your pocket and pull it out. It’s a pack of cigarettes and you take one out and light it up. Puff…inhale…puff…inhale.
From a young age on, it was always known to me that smoking cigarettes is bad. In fact, it is terrible. And while smoking is a distant habit, the damage still lingers with me today. It is the reason for COPD in me, and something that definitely takes its toll physically.
What Is COPD
Frankly, I thought I may have asthma or something like that when I went in and had my lungs tested. I was wrong. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD is a very serious condition of the lungs. It is also one the most common and deadly, unfortunately. The disease blocks airflow in the lungs and makes breathing a difficult task to complete.
I was diagnosed with Chronic Bronchitis, one of the main conditions that make up COPD. The condition consists when the lining of your bronchial tubes are swollen, in turn making it more difficult for them to carry air to your lungs.
The Smokers Cough Gave It Away
The disease itself is progressive in the sense that it gets worse over time. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t have severe symptoms of COPD like the late stages of the disease offers, like constant coughing and nasty mucus shooting up out of the lungs. Sure, I coughed pretty frequently and my breathing when exercising wasn’t the best, but there was anything too out of the ordinary that made my life overly difficult. I really thought I just had asthma when I went to get checked out.
How It Is Diagnosed
COPD is diagnosed through a simple method of using a breathing machine called a spirometer to determine lung strength and capacity. All one has to do is take a deep breath in and then a big one out as hard as you can. The doctor will have you do this several times before concluding the shape of your lungs. I was fortunate in the sense that my lungs showed only that I was at a stage one with the disease, a mild case. Although there is no cure for the disease, the progress of lung damage can be drastically changed by your ability to adopt a healthier lifestyle of not smoking. I have done this and currently feel pretty healthy.
For more information on the disease, visit https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/copd/