Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

You Need to Know About Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may be a chronic inflammatory lung disease that triggers obstructed airflow from the lungs.

Symptoms embrace breathing striving, cough, mucus (sputum) production, and wheezing. It’s typically caused by long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulates, most frequently from cigarette smoke. People with COPD are at increased risk of developing a heart condition, lung cancer, and a spread of other conditions.

Emphysema and bronchitis are the 2 commonest conditions that contribute to COPD. These two conditions commonly occur together and may vary in severity among individuals with COPD.

Chronic bronchitis is inflammation of the liner of the bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from the air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs. It’s portrayed by daily cough and mucus (sputum) production.

Emphysema may be a condition during which the alveoli at the top of the littlest air passages (bronchioles) of the lungs are destroyed as a result of damaging exposure to cigarette smoke and other irritating gases and particulate.
Although COPD may be a progressive disease that gets worse over time, COPD is treatable. With proper management, most of the people with COPD are able to do good symptom control and quality of life, also as reduced risk of other associated conditions.


COPD symptoms often don’t appear until significant lung damage has occurred, and that they usually worsen over time, particularly if smoking exposure continues.
Signs and symptoms of COPD may include:
• Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities
• Wheezing
• Chest tightness
• A chronic cough which will produce mucus (sputum) which will be clear, white, yellow or greenish
• Frequent respiratory infections
• Lack of energy
• Unintended weight loss (in later stages)
• Swelling in ankles, feet, or legs
People with COPD also are likely to experience episodes called exacerbations, during which their symptoms go to pot than the standard day-to-day variation and persist for a minimum of several days.

When to see a doctor

Talk to your doctor if your symptoms aren’t improving with treatment or getting worse, or if you notice symptoms of an infection, like fever or a change in sputum.

Seek immediate medical care if you cannot catch your breath, if you proficiency severe blueness of your lips or fingernail beds (cyanosis) or a rapid heartbeat, or if you are feeling foggy and have trouble concentrating.

 Speedy medical care is needed if:

  • you have bluish or gray fingernails or lips, as this specifies low oxygen levels in your blood
  • you have suffering catching your breath or can’t talk
  • you feel confused, muddled, or faint
  • your heart is racing


The main explanation for COPD in developed countries is tobacco smoking. within the developing world, COPD often occurs in people exposed to fumes from burning fuel for cooking and heating in poorly ventilated homes.

Only some chronic smokers improve clinically apparent COPD, although many smokers with long smoking histories may cultivate reduced lung function. Some smokers develop less common lung conditions. they’ll be misdiagnosed as having COPD until a more thorough evaluation is performed.

How your lungs are affected

Air travels down your windpipe (trachea) and into your lungs through two large tubes (bronchi). Inside your lungs, these tubes divide repeatedly — just like the branches of a tree — into many smaller tubes (bronchioles) that end in clusters of small air sacs (alveoli).

The air sacs have very thin walls filled with tiny blood vessels (capillaries). The oxygen within the air you inhale passes into these blood vessels and enters your bloodstream. At an equivalent time, carbon dioxide — a gas that’s a waste of metabolism — is exhaled.

Your lungs believe the natural elasticity of the bronchial tubes and air sacs to force air out of your body. COPD causes them to lose their elasticity and over-expand, which leaves some air trapped in your lungs once you exhale.

Causes of airway obstruction

Causes of airway obstruction include:




This lung disease causes the destruction of the delicate walls and elastic fibers of the alveoli.

Small airways collapse once you exhale, impairing airflow out of your lungs.


Chronic bronchitis

During this condition, your bronchial tubes become inflamed and narrowed and your lungs produce more mucus, which may further block the narrowed tubes. You develop a chronic cough trying to clear your airways.

Cigarette smoke and other irritants

In the overwhelming majority of individuals with COPD, the lung damage that results inCOPD is caused by long-term cigarette smoking. But there are likely other factors at play within the development of COPD, like a genetic susceptibility to the disease, because not all smokers develop COPD.

Other irritants can cause COPD, including cigar smoke, second hand smoke, pipe smoke, pollution, and workplace exposure to dust, smoke, or fumes.

 Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency

In about 1% of individuals with COPD, the disease results from a genetic disease that causes low levels of a protein called alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAt). AAt is formed within the liver and secreted into the bloodstream to assist protect the lungs. Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency can cause disease, lung disease or both.

For adults with COPD associated with AAt deficiency, treatment options include those used for people with more-common sorts of COPD. additionally, some people are often treated by replacing the missing AAt protein, which can prevent further damage to the lungs.

Risk factors

Risk factors for COPD include:

Exposure to tobacco smokethe most –significant risk factor for COPD is long-term cigarette smoking. The more years you smoke and therefore the more packs you smoke, the greater your risk. Pipe smokers, cigar smokers, and marijuana smokers also could also be in danger, alsoas people exposed to large amounts of secondhand smoke.

People with asthma. Asthma, a chronic inflammatory airway disease, could also be a risk factor for developing COPD. the mixture of asthma and smoking increases the danger of COPD even more.

Occupational exposure to dust and chemicals. Long-term exposure to chemical fumes, vapors, and dust within the workplace can irritate and inflame your lungs.

Exposure to fumes from burning fuel. within the developing world, people exposed to fumes from burning fuel for cooking and heating in poorly ventilated homes are at higher risk of developing COPD.

Genetics. The uncommon genetic disease alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency is that the explanation for some cases of COPD. Other genetic factors likely make sure smokers more defenseless to the disease.


COPD can cause many complications, including:

Respiratory infections. People with COPD are more likely to catch colds, the flu, and pneumonia. Any respiratory tract infection can make it far more difficult to breathe and will cause further damage to lung tissue.

Heart problems – For reasons that are not fully understood, COPD can increase your risk of heart condition, including attack

Lung cancer – People with COPD have a higher risk of developing cancer.

High blood pressure in lung arteries – COPD may cause high vital sign within the arteries that bring blood to your lungs (pulmonary hypertension).

Depression – Difficulty breathing can keep you from doing activities that you simply enjoy. And handling serious illness can contribute to the event of depression.

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