Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a set of respiratory conditions which usually develop in chronic smokers over the age of 40. These conditions are emphysema, chronic bronchitis and sometimes chronic asthma. COPD is usually non reversible and people who develop COPD usually have a constricted airway and experience difficulty in breathing.
COPD can be caused by the following factors:
- Chronic and excessive smoking
- Chronic asthma
- Air pollution and dust
- Long term exposure to chemical fumes and other lung irritants
- Work related lung exposure to dusts like coal dust and silica
What Happens in COPD?
Smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes and all other forms of tobacco smoking are the leading causes of COPD. Smoking damages the alveoli in the lungs, which are the tiny air sacs through which gaseous exchange takes place. These air sacs then become damaged and lose their function. When this happens, the amount of gaseous exchange that the lungs can partake in decreases drastically, and the elastic structure of the lungs is also lost. This damage is permanent and cannot be reversed. Due to the loss of lung function, patients with COPD have difficulty in breathing and usually cannot perform daily tasks like walking up a flight of stairs without losing their breath. COPD usually refers to chronic bronchitis, emphysema and in some cases even chronic asthma.
Symptoms Of COPD:
The symptoms of COPD vary from individual to individual depend upon the severity of the disease, and the type of COPD a person suffers from. The most common symptoms of COPD are:
- Coughing with excessive mucus production
- Chest tightness
- Difficulty breathing
- Persistent tiredness
Treatment Of COPD:
COPD is a debilitating condition and patients who suffer from COPD usually have to be treated symptomatically. Bronchodilators are usually given to patients to assist them with breathing. Patients with COPD have to make lifestyle changes in order to improve their living conditions. By giving up smoking, eating well and trying to start some form of exercise helps in improving their quality of life. There is not treatment of COPD that can reverse the condition absolutely.