Thursday 12 February 2015

Why I don't smoke

When I was at high school some of my friends smoked, as did many of my year.  I tried it once and thought it was disgusting.  I never nagged my friends to stop smoking as it was their choice at the end of the day.

Truth be told, apart from the yucky taste, I was terrified of what could happen to me if I did smoke. As we all know there are a few conditions that are caused by smoking, the biggest being lung cancer. Do you know what the most common smoke related condition is?  I do.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or as it's more commonly know COPD.  I won't go into details of how I know about this condition and how it has affected my life but I will tell you more about the symptoms of COPD.

I will start by explaining that COPD is an umbrella term for a few lung diseases, they include bronchitis and emphysema.

Typical symptoms of COPD include

  • increasing breathlessness when active or moving about
  • a persistent cough with phlegm that does not go away
  • frequent chest infections, especially in winter months
  • Wheezing
  • weight loss
  • tiredness/fatigue
  • swollen ankles
I must stress that the above symptoms can be related to other conditions.

The main cause of COPD is smoking (90% of cases are due to smoking) and up to 25% of smokers develop the conditions.  Other causes include passive smoking and dust and fumes (working with).

If you feel you are showing signs of COPD see your doctor who will arrange for you to have tests. The condition cannot be cured but you can be given medications that will help you meaning you can get on with life as best as you can. The main thing you will be asked to do is stop smoking!  Other treatments include

  • Inhalers
  • Theophylline tablets
  • Steroids

You may also be referred to support groups so you can meet others who have the same condition.

Remember, if you feel you have some or all of the symptoms please see your doctor as soon as possible.

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