Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a group of lung diseases obstructing the normal airflow and causing the symptoms of breathing difficulty. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are the most commonly observed conditions in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Bronchitis is the inflammation of the bronchi linings in the lungs which carry the air to the lungs. Emphysema is the condition in which alveoli of the lungs, which are called air sacs at the end of bronchioles, get damaged or destroyed. The damages made by these diseases to the lung’s structures can’t be reversed but can be treated and minimized with the progression
Causes of COPD:
Here are some common causes of COPD.
- Long-time smoking is one of the basic causes of developing the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 20% of the total smoking population develops this.
- Long-term exposure to smoke and fumes in the case of women who cook food and happen to inhale fumes and smoke.
- Emphysema:It is a condition in which there is a destruction of lung linings and fragile walls including the elastic fibers of alveoli. Airways collapse during exhalation.
- Chronic bronchitis:Bronchial tubes become inflamed, narrow, and lead to the production of mucus which will make it worse to breathe smoothly.
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Risk Factors for Developing COPD:
Here are some risk factors responsible for the development of COPD.
- Exposure to tobacco smoke
- People who already have asthma continue to smoke
- Occupational exposure to drugs and chemicals
- Age: after middle age and after the 60s
- Genetic link between asthmatic and respiratory diseases.
Symptoms of COPD:
Symptoms usually occur in COPD when the condition advances and lung damages are more. It will worsen over time.
- Cough with chronic bronchitis
- Breathing difficulty while in exertion.
- Tightness in the chest
- Mucus feeling in the throat, particularly in the morning.
- Chronic cough with yellowish, white or greenish sputum
- Cyanosis of lips and fingernail beds.
- Respiratory infections occur recurrently
- A lack of vital energy.
- Weight loss for no obvious reason in the later stages.
The structures in the lungs can be described according to the airflow into the lungs as bronchi, bronchioles, alveoli, and capillaries. The blood vessels help in the oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange, and carbon dioxide is a waste that is exhaled with others.
- Recurrent respiratory infections:Those who are more having chances of getting flu and pneumonia, respiratory infections may cause increased difficulty in breathing and may cause further damage to the lungs. Somehow, vaccines may help in these cases.
- Hypertension:It is also called pulmonary hypertension.
- Heart diseases like Angina: The risk of heart ailments like angina increases with COPD
- Lung cancer:Another complication due to COPD is lung cancer though the chances are less.
- Depression:Breathing difficulty causes no interest in doing daily activities, as exertion makes the disease condition worse. Consequently, it may lead to mental depression of the patient, thereby resulting in his loss of interest.
Tests and Diagnostic Methods:
Here are some tests and diagnostic methods that can help you diagnose COPD.
- Pulmonary function test.
- Chest X-ray
- CT scan
- Arterial blood gas analysis.
Lung Therapies which Help in Treating COPD:
Find below some lung therapies which help in treating COPD.
- Oxygen therapy:If there is not much oxygen in the blood, supplemental oxygen is essential. It can help in improving the quality of life and will extend the lifespan in COPD patients.
- Pulmonary rehabilitation program:This will include education training exercise, counseling, and nutrition recommendations. This may shorten hospitalizations, increase the ability to indulge in daily activities, and improve the quality of life.