Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a term used to describe lung disease including Emphysema, Chronic Bronchitis, and Refractory (non-reversible) Asthma. COPD is a progressive and incurable disease that is characterized by increasing breathlessness. With the right diagnosis and treatment, it can be manageable, and people can live for many years with it. The lungs are an important part of the respiratory system and waste management of the body. Emphysema is caused by damage to the air sacs. They become in-large and do not absorb oxygen well making it hard to breathe. Chronic Bronchitis is caused by damage to the bronchial tubes when they are irritated and swollen. If the cough last 3 months to 2 years continuously then it is considered chronic. Refractory Asthma is where the tightening and swelling of the airways cannot be controlled by usual asthma medications.
Signs and symptoms
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Frequent coughing with or without mucus
- Increased shortness of breath and breathlessness
- Tightness in the chest
- Tobacco smoking (cigarettes, pipes, cigars, etc.)
- Second-hand smoke
- Heart problems
- Respiratory problems
- Lung cancer
- High blood pressure in lung arteries
The best ways to prevent COPD is to not smoke any tobacco products and to protect yourself from any work-related chemical irritants. COPD is diagnosed using the Spirometry. This test is a very simple and non-invasive test and allows physicians to calculate 2 numbers to determine if you have COPD or not. If you are experiencing any of the signs or symptoms of COPD please contact your physician immediately to be tested.
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