CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY DISEASE-copd
What is COPD?
COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is a
disease that gets worse over time. It
causes coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and other
symptoms. It includes two lung problems; chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD
was the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2014. Almost 15.7 million Americans have been
diagnosed with COPD.
Bronchitis is characterized by increased cough and mucus
production, which is caused by inflammation of the airways. Bronchitis is considered
chronic, or long-term, if a person coughs and produces excess mucus most days
during three months in a year, for two years in a row.
Emphysema is associated with damage of the air sacs and/or
collapse of the smallest breathing tubes in the lungs.
In COPD-diagnosed individuals, less air flows in and out of
the airways because of one or more of the following events:
The airways and air sacs lose their elastic quality.
- The walls between many of the air sacs have been destroyed.
- The walls of the airways have become thick and inflamed.
- The airways make more mucus than usual, which can clog them.
Causes of COPD
In the United States, smoking is the key factor in the
development and progression of COPD.
Other contributing factors for COPD are air pollutants in the home and
workplace, secondhand smoke, genetic factors and respiratory infections.
Signs and Symptoms of COPD
Those diagnosed with COPD may have difficulty walking or climbing stairs, an inability to work and may require special equipment such as a portable oxygen tank. They may also experience confusion or memory loss, depression, or other mental or emotional difficulties.
signs and symptoms of COPD are:
- shortness of breath or a persistent cough
- coughing up mucus
- difficult or labored breathing
- frequent colds
- weight loss
- morning headaches
Categories of People with high risk factors
These groups of people were more likely to report having COPD:
- people aged 65-74 years and older than 75
- American Indian/Alaska Natives and multiracial non-Hispanics
- individuals who were unemployed, retired or unable to work
- individuals with less than a high school education
- individuals who were divorced, widowed or separated
- current or former smokers
- people with a history of asthma
Treatment of COPD requires a careful evaluation by a
physician. Treatment can alleviate
symptoms, decrease the frequency and severity of aggravation and increase
exercise tolerance. Wheezing and
coughing can be treated with medications.
Pulmonary rehabilitation is another option for patients with COPD,
teaching individualized management strategies to improve quality of life. Other
treatment plans include breathing strategies, energy-conserving techniques,
exercise training and nutritional counseling. Although there is no cure,
treatments and lifestyle changes can make living with COPD more manageable.
Early detection of COPD may change its course and
progress. Smoking is a key factor in
contracting COPD. Smokers should quit
smoking and also avoid secondhand smoke.
Avoid home and workplace air pollutants as much as possible.