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COPD Symptoms and Causes


COPD Symptoms and Causes

COPD is a progressive disease whose symptom does not show immediately. COPD symptoms often show after sever damage has already been done to the lungs, and they get worse overtime, especially if there is continuous exposure to smoke. The major symptoms associated with this disease include daily cough and mucus (sputum) production at least three months a year for two consecutive years.

Other symptoms of this disease include:

  • Shortness of breath, especially during heavy physical activities
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Excess mucus in your lungs
  • Chronic cough
  • Blueness of the lips or fingernail beds (cyanosis)
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Lack of energy
  • Unintended weight loss (in later stages)
  • Swelling in ankles, feet or legs

People with COPD also experience a situation known as exacerbations, were their symptoms become worse than the usual variation and persist for some days.

Causes of COPD:

The major cause of COPD is tobacco smoking. However, it is worth knowing that COPD can be caused by other factors such as genetic disorder which is also known as Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, exposure to fumes from burning fuel for cooking and heating in poorly ventilated homes.

You should also know that only 20-30% of smokers will develop COPD, although most smokers with a long history of smoking may develop reduced respiratory functions.

How does COPD Affect the Lungs?

The lungs make use of the natural elasticity of the bronchial tubes and air sacs to push air out of your body. When a person develops COPD, these tubes and air sacs lose their elasticity, causing them to over-expand, which leaves some air trapped in your lungs when you exhale.

Causes of Airway Obstruction

Airway obstruction is cause primarily by to factors. They include:

  • This lung disease causes the breakdown of the fragile walls and elastic fibers of the alveoli. Hence, the small airways collapse when you exhale, obstructing airflow out of your lungs.
  • Chronic bronchitis. When this occurs, your bronchial tubes become inflamed and narrowed, causing your lungs to produce more mucus, which can further block the narrowed tubes. This is the major reason for your chronic cough as you try to clear the airways.

The Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency

This is an uncommon cause of COPD among patients. Here, COPD is caused by the inadequacy of a protein called alpha-1-antitrypsin. Alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAt) is made in the liver and secreted into the bloodstream to help protect the lungs.

Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency can have negative impact on both the liver and the lungs. Damage to the lung can occur in infants and children, not only adults with long smoking histories.

Risk Factors for COPD:

Some common risk factors for patients of COPD include:

  • Genetics
  • Age
  • People with Asthma Who Smoke
  • Exposure to Tobacco Smoke
  • Exposure to dust and Chemicals
  • Exposure to fumes and burning fuel.

Complications:

Patients who suffer COPD are likely to face one or more of the following complications:

  • Respiratory Infections
  • Lung Cancer
  • Heart Problem
  • Depression
  • High Blood Pressure (especially in the lung arteries)

Fighting COPD can be very complicated. However, with the guidance of your doctor and some lifestyle changes, you should be able to have a more active lifestyle.

 


New COPD Treatments and Medications


New COPD Treatment

Being diagnosed with COPD is not the end of the world. Most COPD patients usually fall within the early stage of the disease and for this reason only need a little therapy in addition with smoking cessation. Those who have gotten to the higher stages of COPD have effective therapies that can help control symptoms, manage complications and exacerbations, and improve your ability to enjoy your normal life.

Some of these therapies include:

Smoking Cessation: This is the most important step any patient can take when fighting COPD. Stopping smoking is the most effective way to reduce the speed at which COPD progresses. Quitting smoking is not as easy as it sounds especially for those who have tried unsuccessfully.

You could speak to your doctor for nicotine replacement options to make things easy. You should also ask for ways to handle relapses.

Medications: There are various types of medications to choose from when fighting COPD. Some of the suggestions your doctor might make include:

Bronchodilators: These medications usually come in an inhaler. They help to relax the respiratory muscles, helping to relieve cough and shortness of breath and making it easier to breathe. Depending on the condition of your disease, you may be required to use the short-acting bronchodilators or the long-lasting bronchodilators.

Inhaled Steroids: These copd treatment methods are used to help fight against inflammation and to prevent exacerbation. However, they have some side effects which include hoarseness, bruising and oral infections. They are mainly used for patients who experience frequent exacerbation.

Combination Inhalers: This treatment method combines the properties of the bronchodilators and inhaled steroids. A typical example of this medication type is the formoterol and budesonide (Symbicort).

Oral Steroids: This medication is used for patients who experience moderate or severe acute exercebations. However, the continued use of this medication can have several side effects like weight gain and cataracts.

Some other types of medication used to fight COPD include:

  • Theophyline
  • Antibiotics
  • Phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors

Lung Therapies: These treatment methods are usually used for patients with severe or moderate COPD. These therapies include:

Oxygen Therapy- This can help to improve quality of life and it is the only COPD treatment proven to extend life. It is used as a supplement for patients who have inadequate oxygen in their blood.

Pulmonary rehabilitation program- This usually combines exercise, education, nutrition advice and counseling. With this treatment, you will be working with experts who can help to tailor your rehabilitation to suit your health needs.

Managing Exercebation: Even when under treatment, you are likely to experience times when symptoms become worse. You have to be prepared for times like this. You should speak to your doctor to learn ways to better manage these situations.

Surgery: This is usually seen as a last resort, especially for patients who have tried several treatment methods without any significant success. The surgical options available include:

  • Lung transplant
  • Lung volume Reduction Surgery
  • Bullectomy

COPD Symptoms and Causes


COPD Symptoms and Causes

COPD is a progressive disease whose symptom does not show immediately. COPD symptoms often show after sever damage has already been done to the lungs, and they get worse overtime, especially if there is continuous exposure to smoke. The major symptoms associated with this disease include daily cough and mucus (sputum) production at least three months a year for two consecutive years.

Other symptoms of this disease include:

  • Shortness of breath, especially during heavy physical activities
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Excess mucus in your lungs
  • Chronic cough
  • Blueness of the lips or fingernail beds (cyanosis)
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Lack of energy
  • Unintended weight loss (in later stages)
  • Swelling in ankles, feet or legs

People with COPD also experience a situation known as exacerbations, were their symptoms become worse than the usual variation and persist for some days.

Causes of COPD:

The major cause of COPD is tobacco smoking. However, it is worth knowing that COPD can be caused by other factors such as genetic disorder which is also known as Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, exposure to fumes from burning fuel for cooking and heating in poorly ventilated homes.

You should also know that only 20-30% of smokers will develop COPD, although most smokers with a long history of smoking may develop reduced respiratory functions.

How does COPD Affect the Lungs?

The lungs make use of the natural elasticity of the bronchial tubes and air sacs to push air out of your body. When a person develops COPD, these tubes and air sacs lose their elasticity, causing them to over-expand, which leaves some air trapped in your lungs when you exhale.

Causes of Airway Obstruction

Airway obstruction is cause primarily by to factors. They include:

  • This lung disease causes the breakdown of the fragile walls and elastic fibers of the alveoli. Hence, the small airways collapse when you exhale, obstructing airflow out of your lungs.
  • Chronic bronchitis. When this occurs, your bronchial tubes become inflamed and narrowed, causing your lungs to produce more mucus, which can further block the narrowed tubes. This is the major reason for your chronic cough as you try to clear the airways.

The Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency

This is an uncommon cause of COPD among patients. Here, COPD is caused by the inadequacy of a protein called alpha-1-antitrypsin. Alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAt) is made in the liver and secreted into the bloodstream to help protect the lungs.

Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency can have negative impact on both the liver and the lungs. Damage to the lung can occur in infants and children, not only adults with long smoking histories.

Risk Factors for COPD:

Some common risk factors for patients of COPD include:

  • Genetics
  • Age
  • People with Asthma Who Smoke
  • Exposure to Tobacco Smoke
  • Exposure to dust and Chemicals
  • Exposure to fumes and burning fuel.

Complications:

Patients who suffer COPD are likely to face one or more of the following complications:

  • Respiratory Infections
  • Lung Cancer
  • Heart Problem
  • Depression
  • High Blood Pressure (especially in the lung arteries)

Fighting COPD can be very complicated. However, with the guidance of your doctor and some lifestyle changes, you should be able to have a more active lifestyle.

 


Lung Infection and COPD


Lung Infection and COPD: Signs and Symptoms

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a type of lung disease which progresses from minor to severe. It is known for its ability to cause obstruction of airflow in and out of the lungs, making it harder to breathe. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two aspects of this disease. Lung infection works hand in hand with COPD. A person diagnosed with COP is more likely to have lung infections (also known as pneumonia). This is as a result of the narrowed airways and inflamed air sacs.

What is a Lung Infection?

Lung infection which is also known as pneumonia is known to happen when there is a collection of bacteria, viruses and in some cases fungi in a person’s lungs and these begin to grow. When this occurs, the air sacks in the lungs begin to get filled up with pus and liquid, making it more difficult for a person to breathe. Some common symptoms of this infection include: chest pain and/or a frequent cough that’s different from the usual chronic cough that’s associated with COPD.

The combination of COPD and pneumonia is a very serious combination that should not be taken lightly. Pneumonia can lead to an irreversible damage to the lung tissue, and in the long run, can lead to respiratory failure. In fact, this respiratory failure is the biggest health concern for a patient of COPD who also developed lung infection.

Can we prevent Lung Infection?

Pneumonia and COPD although very common, isn’t unavoidable. There are ways to protect the lungs from this infection as it is mostly developed after having a flu. With this in mind, getting a flu injection can be a very important safety precaution to reduce the chances of developing pneumonia. You can also practice frequent hand washing and staying away from people who are already infected.

Eating healthy foods and regular exercise are also very important to fighting this infection and also lower the chances of experiencing COPD exacerbations.

Signs and Symptoms of Lung Infection:

The symptoms of lung infection are very similar to that of COPD, making it quite hard to diagnose. Therefore, it is important to know the symptoms of Lung Infections to be able to differentiate them from COPD. Some symptoms of Lung Infection include:

Changes in Mucus: If you notice a change in mucus color or you are expelling more mucus whenever you cough, these could be signs of lung infection.

Sharp Chest Pain: In most cases, people who have developed lung infection usually feel sharp chest pain at one side of their chest especially when they take a deep breath.

Increased Shortness of Breath: Shortness of breath is a normal experience for COPD patients. However, when you notice a more frequent occurrence of this symptom, it could be a sign of lung infection.

Fever: The normal body temperature should be at about 98.6 degree Fahrenheit; however, this varies depending on the person. But whenever you notice an unusual change in this body temperature, you could be developing lung infection.

Managing COPD with lung infection is not an easy task. However, when you know what to lookout for and how best to tackle them, you have a higher chance of having a more active lifestyle.

 


COPD Management Plan: Taking Action for COPD cure


COPD Management Plan: Taking Action for Better Health

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease affects over 20million citizens in the US. Known as one of the highest cause of death in the US, this disease is also progressive, meaning it worsens as time passes, leading to shortness of breath and constant cough. COPD cure is a health situation where your lungs get inflamed, making it harder to breath and in most cases causing mucus to build up in the lungs. It’s a huge disease but there are steps that you can tale to live a better life even when diagnosed with COPD.

When diagnosed with COPD, you and your doctor should work out a management plan. This helps you to stay in charge of the disease rather than becoming the victim. It provides you with a sense of security which is a vital aspect of living with this disease.

What is a Record Management Plan?

A record management plan like the name suggests is a way to keep track of how you are doing, your medications and improvement. It helps you to know when you actually need the help of your doctor.

Keeping Records: By keeping records you are more aware of your condition. Keeping records helps you to know the major cause of exacerbation and how best to avoid them. This record also helps you to review and adjust you’re your body to protect the lungs.

Nutrition: Eating of nutritious food is a must for curing COPD patients. Foods like fried foods, cruciferous vegetables and salty foods all pose a threat to COPD patients. Embracing nutritious foods help to set the tone for a healthy lifestyle.

If diagnosed with COPD, your major concentration should be: lean protein, vitamin D, water and omega-3s.

Exercise: This might be scary to think of at first especially since you are already having a hard time breathing without exercising. However, you should note that inactivity can actually worsen the situation. Inactivity leads to reduced muscle mass and a decline in cardiovascular function. The heart and lungs needs to work together to deliver oxygen throughout the body.

You can adopt simple exercise strategies like taking a walk around the neighbourhood or simply walking to your mailbox regularly. This helps to strengthen your muscles, increasing your stamina.

Use COPD Tools: Although COPD has no cure, there are lots of COPD tools that can help make living with COPD easier. In same vein, there are lots of tools to help make managing your COPD plan simple. A typical example of a reliable tool is the “action plan” sheet offered by The American Lung Association; it helps to suggest what to do during different types of flare-ups.

The most important and easy way to fight COPD is by having enough knowledge about the causes of exacerbation, helping you manage your symptoms and putting you in control of the disease.


Coping with Pulmonary Fibrosis: 4 Tips for Breathing Better


Coping with Pulmonary Fibrosis: 4 Tips for Breathing Better

Pulmonary Fibrosis is a restrictive respiratory disease that is caused due to constant exposure to tobacco smokes or any other harmful airborne substance. The symptoms can cause negative effect to one’s lifestyle, causing breathe shortage, fatigue issues and most common, scarring within the lungs.

This causes a huge challenge when trying to maintain one’s daily lifestyle.

With reduced mobility, it becomes increasingly difficult to enjoy more time with friends and family and causes less time to manage one’s health. Although there are a variety of treatment options available, getting through your day-t0-day without the dependence of medication is a mission worth embarking on.

With this in mind, we have come up with a breakdown of the process of Coping with Pulmonary Fibrosis: 4 Tips for Breathing Better.

Quit Smoking and Try Exercising: It’s not new that continuous smoking after being diagnosed with COPD like Pulmonary Fibrosis only help to worsen your situation. Therefore, it is very important to quit smoking as it’s the best way to manage COPD symptoms.

On exercising, you should start small. Take small walks from your door step to the mailbox, a walk around the block and repeat this daily for the week.

Improve your Diet: Changing your diet is very easy and hard at the same time. It is easy in the sense that it only requires you to change the food you consume and cooking method. The hardest part is convincing yourself to adopt this change. By consuming healthy multivitamin rich food, you give your body the needed nutrients to help improve COPD symptoms. It’s to improve your health so, why not?

Practice Breathing Exercise: It should not be physical exercises alone. Breathing exercising helps to improve your breathing capability. Although there are lots of options to choose from, the pursed-lips breathing technique is often recommended as the primary breathing exercise for those with pulmonary fibrosis.

Meditation is Key: Meditation is as important to the mind as eating right food is to the body. Though most people feel there is a need for an instructor to be successful at this, it is wrong. You can mediate literally anywhere, from sitting alone at home to the crowded bus. It has to do with separating the mind from the worries of the future or past but focus on the present.

Through small changes in your daily routine like those mentioned above, you can significantly reduce the effect of COPD symptoms. However, if these changes don’t yield successful results, then it’s time to consider stem cell therapy which directly affect disease progression and may improve quality of life instead of addressing only the symptoms of lung disease.


New Treatment for COPD


New Treatment for COPD

Living with COPD can be very hard to deal with, because the condition, which causes increased breathing difficulty and reduced capacity of the lungs to absorb oxygen can have serious impact on one’s daily activities.

Meanwhile the number of people in the US suffering with COPD are on the rise. Over 12 million Americans have already been diagnosed with COPD, and experts from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute estimate that an additional 12 million people have the disease but are yet to find out, doubling the national total. Clearly, there is a major need for new medications and cure for this disease.

Here are some of the latest treatment options for COPD and those to become available soon.

Inhalers:

What’s new: Triple Therapy

The asthma style inhalers have been the most common treatment for COPD. However, researchers are studying a more efficient method known as the Triple Therapy. Many experts believe patients perform better on the medication which combines three different medications: a long-acting beta-agonist, an inhaled corticosteroid, and the anticholinergic Spiriva (generic name tiotropium bromide). Studies show that patients who too all three medications found that their symptoms dropped by 62 percent.

Medications to Delate Blood Vessels

What’s New: Lowering pulmonary blood pressure

Pulmonary hypertension or high blood pressure in the arteries is the major cause of the edema, or swelling in the feet and ankles, that most COPD sufferers experience. When this occurs, doctors often prescribe drugs that helps to delate the pulmonary arteries, reducing the pressure of the blood pumping through.

Experts are now beginning to explore the potential of Viagra. The popular drug is now being used to treat pulmonary hypertension. Researches show that Viagra, a vasodilator, works to relax and open the blood vessels that leads to the lungs by making it easier for the heart to pump blood to the lungs, lower blood pressure in the lungs, relieving pulmonary hypertension. The FDA has approved a new formulation of sildenafil called Revatio that’s specifically for pulmonary hypertension.

Oxygen therapy

What’s New: Replacing oxygen with a mix of helium and oxygen

The use of oxygen therapy has been proven to improve COPD symptoms by boosting the ability of the lungs to supply oxygen to the blood. Recent research shows that a better version of this medication will soon be available. According to the results of research conducted by the Canadian researchers at the University of Calgary determined, when 60 percent helium was combined with 40 percent oxygen — making a mixture known as Heliox – there was significant improvement on their exercise capacity by an average of 245 percent. Since helium is less dense than oxygen, it allows COPD sufferers to empty their damaged lungs more completely.

However, you should note that helium is more expensive than standard oxygen, so it might not be covered by your insurance.

Lung Surgery

What’s New: Lung Volume Reduction Surgery

Recently, in most cases of advanced COPD, most doctors recommend a surgery known as the LVRS (Lung Volume Reduction Surgery). This type of surgery helps to remove up to 30 percent of the most severely damaged lung tissue with the hope that the remaining sections will function better. The treatment is relatively new, so doctors don’t know how long the effects will last.

Now, some surgeons are exploiting the use of video-assisted thoracic surgery, using a series of tiny cuts to remove small sections of lung tissue instead of opening the chest. If found effective, it could become a mainstream treatment.

Airway Bypass

What’s New: Bronchoscopic surgery

COPD weakens and damages the walls of the air sacks in the lungs. This leads to increased difficulty in exhaling as the small airways between collapses when they try to exhale.

TO solve this problem, researchers are experimenting the possibility of using a bronchoscope-guided needle to create tiny holes through the airway walls. Miniature tubes called stents are then inserted to connect the smaller, collapsed airways with the healthier, bigger airways.

A new Anti-inflammatory Drug

What’s New: Roflumilast

The new medication, Roflumilast (otherwise known as Dexas) was approved in Europe to treat COPD in June 2010. This medication has a different kind of reaction. It worked by counteracting the effect of an enzyme that contributes to inflammation — so it targets the underlying inflammatory mechanism of COPD rather than the symptoms of inflammation.

Tests show that the Roflumilast is very effective. However, it was noticed to have some side effects like nausea, diarrhea, and headache.


Why is there no COPD Cure? The Breakdown.


 

This is a common question among most patients: Why is there no cure for COPD?

As of today, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is said to affect over 600 million people. It is also predicted to become the third leading cause of death by 2020. This goes to show that COPD is a global problem for all as it has the ability to affect many of us and people we know. Although there are many alternative forms of treatment, with the increase in the number of COPD patients around the world, the first question from patients who suffer COPD is “is there a cure?” Unfortunately, the answer is no and this leads to the next big question “why?”

With this concern in mind, we have come up with an answer to this question: Why is there no cure for COPD?

What is a Cure?

Let’s start first by defining what a cure is. A cure is usually defined as any procedure or substance that puts an end to a medical condition. It may be a type of medication, a surgical operation, a change in lifestyle or even a philosophical mindset. The key here is the ability to end a medical condition. A typical example of cure is the use of antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection.

However, with COPD, the lung tissues continually deteriorate within the lungs and the medication to this continuous degeneration and to stop the damage is yet to be found.

What is COPD?

Like we said earlier, COPD is a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease which affects millions of Americans today. Classified as an obstructive lung disease, it causes air limitation when breathing in and out, the typical effect of this disease is tissue degeneration. As the lung tissues breakdown, it deteriorates the small airways of the lungs, leading to the formation of large air pockets which replace lung tissue.

Although the development of COPD is not always as a result of smoking, it is often caused by the constant exposure to cigarette smoke or other irritants. The rate at which COPD develops is often based on the body’s inflammatory response to these inhaled irritants. As the body’s immune system goes to work (causing inflammation), it causes the destruction of the connective tissue of the lungs (emphysema), which obstructs airflow and causes poor respiratory function. As the airways of the lungs continue to be inflamed, they begin to narrow and exhibit scarring from within. This condition leads to the inability to breathe out fully.

What’s the way forward?

It is important to know the journey ahead in the treatment of COPD. Although being diagnosed with COPD can cause some mental and emotional stress, the most important step to take when fighting this disease is to face is head-on. Asides form quitting smoking, changing one’s diet and partaking in frequent exercise are some of the beneficial lifestyle changes one can make. However, if you really want to fight this disease directly, it is time to consider stem therapy.

Stem therapy directly affects disease progression instead of addressing just COPD symptoms. It is also a proven option to improve quality of life and pulmonary function. For people with lung disease, a change in lifestyle can do a lot of good to help maintain a healthy active life.


New Natural COPD Treatment


New Natural COPD Treatment

There are many natural treatment options for different ailments- including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). However, people diagnosed with COPD should be careful when using these supplements as there is no specific prescription for it.

Unlike the prescription drugs which are regulated by the Food and Drug administration, these natural treatment options are not regulated by the government and they are yet to be extensively researched on. Therefore, most doctors cannot guarantee the effectiveness of these supplements, as well as their side effects.

Below are some natural treatment options for COPD and some comments from experts on their effectiveness.

Bromelain: This supplement is gotten from the enzymes located in the stem and juice of a pineapple. It is said to aid the reduction of inflammation associated with COPD, but according to the National Institutes of Health, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.

Coenzyme Q10: This antioxidant is produced naturally by the body and has been said to increase cell activity while reducing inflammation in people with COPD. According to some researches, people living with COPD are known to have low levels of coenzyme Q10; however, there is no proof that taking the supplement improves conditions.

L-Carnitine: Usually produced in the body, the L-Carnitine is used to burn body fat and boost energy. For COPD patients, this supplement helps to strengthen muscles and improve endurance during exercise. Research has proven that COPD patients who take this supplements show significant improvement during walking exercise programs.

N-acetylcysteine: The N-acetylcysteine is an antioxidant which is available as an over-the-counter dietary supplement. It has been tested for its role in breaking down the mucus that clogs the lungs of people living with COPD. To date, research has showed mixed results on the supplement’s effectiveness.

Antioxidant vitamins: Vitamins A, C and E have been proven to improve the lung function in people with COPD since they contain antioxidants. Studies have shown that people living with COPD have low levels of antioxidant-rich vitamins, and this deficiency can result in decreased pulmonary function. Further, studies have proven that COPD patients whose diets are rich in fruits and vegetables, which is a good source of vitamins A, C and E, saw improved lung function.

It is important to note that natural supplements cannot be used as the sole source of COPD treatment. Make sure to consult your doctor before adding any supplement to your diet and ensure they don’t affect your current treatment plan.


Causes of COPD


Causes of COPD

The symptoms of COPD often don’t become noticeable at the early stages; they are usually seen after the lungs have experienced severe damage and one common thing is that they worsen over time, especially when the patient continues smoking. The major symptoms for COPD is the daily cough and production of mucus for three months in a year.

Some other symptoms include:

  • Loss of energy
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Recurrent respiratory infections
  • Weight loss
  • Many more.

In some cases, COPD patients also experience exacerbations, were symptoms become worse than usual and this persists for at least several days.

What Causes COPD?

The known primary cause of COPD in most developed countries is the smoking of Tobacco. While in developing worlds, COPD occurs due to consistent exposure to fumes from fuels for cooking, especially in poorly ventilated homes.

It is worth knowing that only a few percentage of chronic smokers often develop clinical COPD, although most people with a long history of smoking may develop reduced lung function. You should not make a conclusion about your COPD condition until a thorough evaluation is performed.

How is the Lung Affected?

When you breathe in, the air travels through your windpipe and into the lungs through two tubes which are divided into smaller tubes that ends in a bunch of tiny air sacs.

These tiny sacs contain thin walls which contains some tiny blood vessels. The oxygen in the air you breathe in is passed through these blood vessels and into your blood stream. Simultaneously, carbon dioxide- which is the waste product- is exhaled.

To function effectively, the lungs rely on the elasticity of the tubes and air sacs to push out air. COPD causes them to lose their elasticity, meaning air is trapped in the lungs when exhaling.

Causes of Airway Obstruction:

The major reasons for airway blockage include:

Emphysema- This is a disease that destroys the elastic walls of the tiny air sacs. It causes small airways to collapse, thereby, causing obstruction of airflow when you exhale.

Chronic Bronchitis- Here, the large tubes become inflamed and narrowed, causing your lungs to produce more mucus, which can further affect the narrowed lungs. At this stage, you develop chronic cough while trying to clear the airways.

Effect of Cigarette Smoking and other irritants

 In most cases, COPD is caused by long term exposure to cigarette smoking. But there are other likely factors that contribute to the development of COPD, such as the genetic susceptibility of COPD, because only 30% of smokers may develop COPD.

Other irritants which can lead to the development of COPD include cigar smoke, second-hand smoke, pipe smoke, air pollution and workplace exposure to dust, smoke or fumes.

Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency: This is another cause of COPD which is most noticed in 1 percent of COPD patients. The disease is caused by a genetic disorder that causes low levels of a protein called alpha-1-antitrypsin. Made in the liver and secreted into the blood stream, the alpha-1-antitrypsin helps to protect the lungs. Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency can cause damages to the liver and lungs.

Adults diagnosed with COPD related to AAt deficiency are provided with same treatment options as the common COPD. They can also be treated by replacing the missing AAt protein to prevent further damage to the lungs.

Risk Factors of COPD:

People who engage in the following activities are exposed to high risk of COPD.

  • Exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Asthma patients who smoke
  • Exposure to dust and chemicals
  • Age
  • Genetic disorder (e.g Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency)

Complications: People who suffer COPD are likely to face many complications, including:

  • Lung Cancer
  • Heart problems
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure in lung arteries
  • Respiratory infections

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