Chest Diseases

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease:

The name "chronic obstructive pulmonary disease" is not applied to a specific disease, but goes beyond that to include lung diseases that cause difficulty in breathing, including: emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Emphysema (Swollen Lungs):
It occurs when the alveoli become damaged and lose their elasticity, making it difficult for air to be exhaled from the lungs (exhalation) and for carbon dioxide to be removed (exhalation).

Chronic bronchitis:
It is the occurrence of inflammation in the airways that results in coughing (with sputum) repeatedly, and this occurs when the cilia lining the airways are damaged, which leads to difficulty in removing mucus therefrom.

How the disease occurs:
The alveoli consist of a thin membrane surrounded by capillaries. When breathing, oxygen enters the lungs and is absorbed into alveoli through these capillaries to reach the blood. At the same time, carbon dioxide comes out of the capillaries and moves to alveoli and then leaves the body. Lungs have the natural flexibility of each of bronchi and alveoli to remove air from the body, but in the case of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, their flexibility fades, which leads to their expansion, or walls of the air passages become inflamed and thicken, causing air to be trapped inside the lungs.

The difference between asthma symptoms and symptoms of obstructive pulmonary disease:
A daily morning cough that produces yellowish sputum is characteristic of COPD. Frequently repeated wheezing and nighttime coughing are more common with asthma. Other symptoms of COPD include fatigue and frequent respiratory infections.

  • Smoking is the main cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke, dust and other air pollutants.
  • Prolonged exposure to harmful fumes in the workplace.
  • Genes: Some people develop a rare form of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) because of a genetic condition that affects the body's production of the protein alpha-a antitrypsin, which protects the lungs.
  • Asthma infection since childhood.
  • Early life events (e.g., poor womb growth, prematurity, frequent or severe respiratory infections in childhood) that inhibit lung development.
  • Chronic cough with phlegm.
  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.
  • Tiresome and fatigue.
  • Repeated infections of the respiratory system.
  • whistling.
The appearance of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that a person has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as they may resemble symptoms of other diseases, and only the doctor can determine whether a person has it or not, and difficulty breathing and coughing are not a normal part of aging.

When to see a doctor:
  •  Difficulty catching a breath or speaking.
  • Lips or nails turning blue or gray, which indicates a low level of oxygen in the blood.
  • The speed of heartbeats.
  • If symptoms are getting worse despite the use of medicines.
  • Difficulty doing some activities such as: walking and climbing stairs.
  • Inability to work.
  • The need to use special devices, such as a mobile oxygen cylinder.
  • ​Social isolation.
  • Increased confusion or memory loss.
  • Frequent visits to hospital emergency departments.
  • Having other chronic diseases, such as: arthritis, congestive heart failure, diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke, or asthma.
  • Depression or other psychological problems.
  • Medical history.
  • Clinical examination.
  • Spirometer: It is a device used to measure functions of the lungs.
  • The doctor may order other tests.
There is no treatment that can completely cure COPD, but its treatment aims to alleviate symptoms, prevent their aggravation, increase and recurrence, increase the ability to engage in physical activity, and treat complications. The method of treatment varies from person to another, depending on the case.
Where they include: 
  • Changing lifestyle, by quitting smoking, and avoiding risk factors that irritate the lungs.
  • Medication use.
  • Use of an oxygen device.
  • surgery.
  • Avoid smoking or quit smoking immediately.
  • Avoid exposure to air pollutants at home and workplace.
  • Some people may not have any symptoms at first, so it is important to do a lung examination for people at risk factors; To receive early treatment and avoid complications.
General Instructions:
  • Join a smoking cessation program.
  • Do physical activity slowly, and increase it gradually.
  • Get immunizations (Vaccines) to prevent diseases that may make your pulmonary embolism worse (such as influenza).
  • Get psychological support.

Last Update : 25 May 2023 11:46 AM
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