Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, commonly called COPD, describes a chronic inflammatory disease which causes an obstructed airflow in the lungs. It’s due to a long-term exposure to particular matter or irritating gases, more so from cigarette smoke. People with COPD are often at a higher risk of developing lung cancer, cardiovascular disease and many other conditions.
Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are the two most common conditions which result in the disease.
People with COPD normally have difficulties breathing as a result of the narrowing of airways — a condition known as flow obstruction. Normal symptoms of this disease include:
- Increasing breathlessness when active
- a persistent cough
- regular chest disease
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities.
A chronic cough that produces sputum That May be clear, yellow, white or greenish Lack of vitality Blueness of fingernail beds (cyanosis) or the lips Frequent respiratory infections
Causes of COPD
You’re most likely to get the disease from inhaling something that irritates your lungs like smoke. However, there are additional reasons that make you feel shortness of breath. The most common causes of the disease are:
- Smoking. Cigarette smoke is the most frequent reason as to why folks get COPD infection. You may also get the disease from tobacco products like pipe smoke and cigar, particularly in the event you inhale the smoke.
- Second-hand smoke. Even if you don’t smoke, you can get the disease from living with smokers and inhaling the smoke.
- Fumes and contamination. You can also get the disease from air pollution. Inhaling chemical fumes, toxic dust or substances on the job may also cause it.
- Your genes. About 3 in every 100 people suffering from COPD normally have flaws in their DNA; a code that tells your body about how to operate correctly. The defect is called AAT deficiency or alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Your lungs don’t have enough of the protein necessary in protecting them from harms way. This might lead to acute problems. In case you or just a family member experience severe lung problems — more so at a young age — you need to ask your physician about testing for the AAT deficiency.
- Asthma. It’s not common, however asthma may also cause COPD. In case you don’t cure asthma, then you can get life damage with time.
How Your Lungs Are Affected
Air normally travels down the windpipe and into the lungs through 2 large tubes (bronchi). Within the lungs, the tubes then split many times like tree branches into a number of smaller tubes (bronchioles) which end in tiny air sacs called alveoli. The sacs have thin walls which are filled with blood vessels (called capillaries). The oxygen found in the air that you inhale normally passes to the blood vessels prior to entering your bloodstream.
Your lungs normally rely on natural elasticity of air sacs and bronchial tubes to force the air from the body. COPD causes the lungs to lose their elasticity and then over extend thus leaving some air trapped in the lungs when a person exhales.
It is necessary that the disease is diagnosed during early phases so that treatment can attempt to slow down lung deterioration. You should elect to see your GP in the event you experience any symptoms mentioned previously. COPD is normally diagnosed following consultations with your physician. This may be followed by numerous breathing tests.
Even though the damage that has already happened to the lungs can not be reversed, an individual can still slow down the development of the disease. Quitting smoking is extremely capable of doing this.
Treatments for COPD normally involve relieving its symptoms with drugs, for example by using inhalers in order to make breathing quite simpler. Pulmonary rehabilitation may also help in raising the number of exercises which you are capable of doing.