CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY DISEASE (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of chronic inflammatory diseases that affect the lungs by obstructing the airway. Inflammation in the lining of the bronchial tubes causes an obstruction in the airway to the lungs, causing problems with breathing. These conditions may progress, and when left untreated, this condition may cause respiratory infections, heart problems, lung cancer, high blood pressure and depression as it affects the quality of life.

WHAT CAUSES CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY DISEASE?

People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) commonly have emphysema and chronic bronchitis, and thus these are the most common conditions that lead to COPD.

Emphysema causes damage to the fragile walls of the alveoli in the lungs, causing them to collapse when exhaling and block the airflow out of the lungs. Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, causes the bronchial tubes to become inflamed and narrowed. The lungs then produce more mucus which can obstruct breathing through these narrowed tubes.

In addition, these conditions are agitated by cigarette smoke and other irritants such as second-hand smoke, air pollution and exposure to dust, smoke or fumes in the workplace.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

This condition makes breathing difficult due to obstruction in the airway. Because it is progressive, it may get worse as time goes on. At first, it may begin with a mild cough or shortness of breath where later it becomes constant making it increasingly difficult to breathe.