Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

The World Health Organization (WHO) deems chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) a common, but avoidable and curable, chronic lung disease which affects both men and women all over the world.1

Statistics reveal that COPD is the third leading cause of death globally. In 2019, 3.23 million people died from the disease. Of these, almost 90% of the deaths of those younger than 70 took place in low- and middle-income countries.1

However, COPD is actually a blanket term for numerous lung diseases which have a negative impact on proper breathing. These include:

  • Emphysema (damage to the small air sacs at the end of the airways in the lungs).
  • Chronic Bronchitis (a chronic cough alongside phlegm which result in inflammation and swelling in the airways).
  • Chronic Asthma.

Irregularities in the tiny airways of the lungs result in restricted airflow in and out of the lungs. There are numerous reasons for the airways becoming narrow including damage to part of the lungs, excess mucus which blocks the airways, and inflammation and swelling of the airway lining.1

The Impact of Living with COPD

The most prevalent symptoms of COPD include:

  • Breathlessness or trouble breathing
  • A chronic cough which is often accompanied by phlegm
  • Fatigue

As COPD develops, it is increasingly difficult for those who have it to function on a daily basis, mostly on account of the breathlessness they feel. Unfortunately, this has a decidedly negative financial impact. There are multiple reasons for this such as reduced home and workplace productivity, as well as expensive medical treatment. This is especially true during flare-ups as it often requires additional treatment at home, or even hospital admission as severe flare-ups can result in death.1

WHO states that COPD is also often accompanied by other medical conditions including heart disease, osteoporosis, musculoskeletal disorders, lung cancer, depression, and anxiety.

How to Detect & Manage COPD

Even though there isn’t a cure for COPD, diagnosing the condition early and undergoing treatment are exceptionally important in slowing the progression of the disease and minimising flare-ups.1

Should someone have typical symptoms, a spirometry test will be conducted in order to confirm the diagnosis. This is a breathing test which measures how the lungs are working. Unfortunately, the test is not always conducted in low- and middle-income countries and so a diagnosis may be delayed or even missed.1

However, those who suffer from COPD can do the following to boost their general health and manage their condition:1

  • Do appropriate exercise on a regular basis.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Stay up to date on vaccines against pneumonia, flu, and COVID.

The Causes of COPD

  • Smoking (active cigarette smoking, or contact with second-hand smoke)
  • Environmental factors such as long-term exposure to dust from grain or wood, chemical vapours. Severe air pollution can also aggravate COPD in smokers.
  • Biomass fuel such as wood, manure, crop residue, and coal which is often used for cooking and heating and results in excessive smoke exposure.
  • Childhood asthma.
  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (a rare genetic condition).
  • Poor growth in utero, premature births, recurrent childhood respiratory infections which are serious enough to hinder maximum lung growth
  • It is also speculated that poverty, poor nutrition, history of lung tuberculosis, or HIV infection play an important role are important factors of the prevalence of COPD in Africa.2

How AirPhysio Can Help

  1. AirPhysio clears blockages and built-up excess mucus.
  2. The vibration and flutter-effect of the AirPhysio device, alongside the deep breathing method, conditions the airway and improves lung capacity.


1World Health Organization. (2022, May 20). Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Retrieved from World Health Organization:

2Salvi, S. (2015, January). The silent epidemic of COPD in Africa. The Lancet, 3.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Twicsy

    I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this
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    1. Lara Bernhardt

      Thank you very much for your kind words! I hope that the post was informative 🙂

      1. Stuart Hunter

        Thank you very much I was very impressed with the following information that I received from this article.

  2. Morapedi Malindi

    Thanks for the information, I have copd and it’s so bad, I bought myself an airphysio as well, hope it helps me in this

  3. Cor du Plessis

    As a copd sufferer, I have experienced reduced productivity in my daily activities. The symptons are severe, and even results in a negative effect on family and friends and people around you. I often wonder how other patients manage their symptoms.

  4. Amanda Grobbelaar

    Very well written, thank you, Lara. I found your blog very informative and I am looking forward to the next one! 🙂
    The reviews on the AirPhysio devices are exceptional. It certainly helped to bring back my collapsed lung post-surgery back to life.

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  6. Mark

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