Diseases Diseases

About Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases

Introduction

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is basically defined as the limitation of flow of air into and out of the lung cavity. This is a vast term used to describe the combination of two coexisting diseases namely Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema. Both of these diseases are mostly caused by smoking and other pollutants. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases eventually lead to shortness of breath that is breathlessness, the sufferer feels tired mostly and coughing along with sputum may occur.

History

As mentioned earlier, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease which is also sometimes referred to as Chronic Obstructive Airway Disease (COAD) is a sum of two other major lung diseases that are Bronchitis and Emphysema. The symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases are a mixture of emphysema and bronchitis. Emphysema is basically the destruction, narrowing, collapsing, stretching or over inflation of the alveolar sacs located in the lungs. It is in the alveolar sacs that the exchange of gases takes place thus the destruction of the basic tool which is the alveoli result in chronic breathing problems. Bronchitis on the other hand is a long term inflammation of the bronchi which are the breathing airways that lead to the lungs. This eventually results in frequent infections, coughing and thus chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In the early 19th century the description of this disease first appeared in a British textbook. Then during the 20th century use of a device called the spirometer was made to investigate the disease.

Features

Previously it was believed that Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases were largely irreversible and thus people thought that there was no permanent treatment for this condition. This disease progresses in four stages which are stage 1 to stage 4. Stage 1 is the mild obstruction and can be treated with the help of short-acting bronchodilators and reducing risk factors. Stage 2 is the moderate obstruction which can be cured with long acting bronchodilators that is cardiopulmonary restoration. Stage 3 is basically the severe obstruction stage where the airway is severely obstructed due to inflammation. This stage is usually treated with the help of the bronchodilator treatment along with the use of glucocorticoids in repeated exacerbations. Chronic respiratory failure or chronic obstruction is the stage 4 thus it has a number of treatment approaches which involve; surgical transplantation of lungs and LVRS, long term oxygen therapy and also the basic therapy which includes the use of long acting and short acting bronchodilators.

Tips and comments

One of the world wide leading causes of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases is cigarette smoking. For the treatment to be effective one must quit smoking. As far as the prevention of this disease is concerned one should avoid smoking. It is very important to avoid exposure to environmental pollutants and irritants; even if one exercises one should select a healthy pollution free environment so that there is no extra pressure on the lungs. One should also be careful and avoid close contact with the patients of this disease. If someone in the family has this disease even without exposure to cigarette smoke, then the problem maybe genetic and thus a doctor should be consulted immediately.

By Maryam Cheema, published at 03/26/2012
   Rating: 4/5 (11 votes)
About Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases. 4 of 5 based on 11 votes.

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