Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (copd): Causes, description, Treatment

Chest | Pulmonology | Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (copd) (Disease)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (copd): Description

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a group of lung diseases that block airflow as you exhale and make it increasingly difficult for you to breathe.

There are two main forms of COPD: chronic bronchitis, which involves a long-term cough with mucus and emphysema and causes destruction of the lungs over time.

In general, symptoms of COPD dont appear until significant lung damage has occurred, and they usually worsen over time. Symptoms may be the following: cough, with or without mucus; fatigue; many respiratory infections; shortness of breath known as dyspnea; tachypnea; wheezing; chest tightness; wheezing sounds or crackles in the lungs heard through a stethoscope; active use of muscles in the neck to help with breathing. Complications of COPD include: heart problems (arrhythmia, high blood pressure), respiratory infections (pneumonia, pneumothorax), depression, severe weight loss and malnutrition.

Causes and Risk factors

COPD is caused by noxious particles or gas, most commonly from tobacco smoking, which triggers an abnormal inflammatory response in the lung.

Other risk factors for COPD are: exposure to certain gases or fumes in the workplace; exposure to heavy amounts of secondhand smoke and pollution and frequent use of cooking fire without proper ventilation. A tendency to sudden airway constriction in response to inhaled irritants, bronchial hyperresponsiveness, is a characteristic of asthma.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (copd): Treatment and Diagnosis

The diagnosis of COPD should be considered in anyone who has dyspnea, chronic cough or sputum production. The diagnosis of COPD is confirmed by a test called spirometry that tests lung capacity. Other tests include chest x-ray, computer tomography (CT), sputum exam and arterial blood gas.

There is currently no cure for COPD; however, risk can be reduced by smoking cessation, decrease air pollution environment, medication and oxygen therapy

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