- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
COPD Lung Disease
COPD Lung Disease
Hundreds of thousands of people suffer from COPD lung disease, which is a treacherous pulmonary system disorder. The actual acronym stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and it is officially classified as a “progressive” disease, meaning that the more time goes on, the worse the disease gets. As of this writing, no substantiated cure has been founded, and the disease is considered to be irreversible. It is a most unfortunate fact that over 10 million people in the U.S. are currently diagnosed with COPD. Other aliases for the disease are chronic pulmonary bronchitis and emphysema. The most common or prevalent symptom of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder is heavy or frequent coughing due to a buildup of mucus in the lungs. Mucus is basically a slime-like substance that can coat the bronchial tubes, causing obstruction of air flow to and from the lungs. The mucus is very tough to get rid of or even loosen up, so the result is that a person with COPD has the constant feeling of having something “stuck” in their breathing passageways, causing them to cough on a very regular basis (what’s often known as “smoker’s cough”). Since this condition is closely linked to bronchitis (and is actually a more severe form of bronchitis), I feel that I can speak a little bit about how bad this disease is. I grew up in a house where my mother and father both smoked, and every year, without fail, I would get a bad case of bronchitis. The only way to describe how it feels is that you feel like there’s a constant “tickle” in your throat, to where you can’t help but to cough almost incessantly. It can really be aggravated by other particles that are present in the air (i.e., excessive dust from old carpets or dust that has been stirred up by housecleaning), and it’s an extremely aggravating situation to deal with. I can only imagine how much more intense a case of COPD would be…I moved out of my parents’ house when I was eighteen, and for the first time in history, I went a year without getting bronchitis…and I actually never got bronchitis again after I moved out. I know that the bronchitis I had experienced all through childhood was directly related to living in a house that was constantly full of second hand smoke. Other symptoms of COPD lung disease include shortness of breath, especially regarding how fast it takes a person to get tired or become winded due to any type of physical exertion; for example, it may become a challenge to simply climb a flight of stairs without experiencing shortness of breath. Another prominent symptom is wheezing or having a raspy, scraping, or rattling sound when you breathe. Many COPD sufferers have also reported a feeling of tightness in their chest.
COPD Lung Disease Treatment
Of course, the main question about COPD lung disease then becomes “How do you get it?” Simply put, smoking is the absolute number-one cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, by a landslide. There are other conditions that can cause or aggravate COPD, such as working or living around chemical fumes, dust from certain materials, and other things that can irritate the breathing passageways and the lungs. But other causes such as the latter are nowhere near in the majority; smoking remains the culprit of an overwhelming percentage of COPD cases. So on the preventative side, the best way to avoid ever having to deal with COPD is to quit smoking, or never start smoking if you’ve never done it. This, of course, is much easier said than done, as most people would agree that the physical dependency on nicotine is a very difficult thing to break. But definitely quitting smoking is one of the most productive things a person can do to keep from ever getting COPD, or if they have symptoms of COPD, to prevent those symptoms from being exacerbated. Aside from prevention, some treatment options include the administering of certain medicines that can help open up the breathing passageways (airways) through various means. For example, one type of medicine utilized is called bronchodilators, which helps to relax the muscles within the breathing passageways. Other medicines contain steroids that the patient inhales to reduce swelling in the bronchial tubes due to inflammation. In more severe cases, surgery is performed to remove diseased sections of the lungs, and in the most threatening cases, lung transplants are performed. Some other treatments for less severe cases include a regular influenza vaccine, as any type of attack of the flu or even the common cold can cause great physical difficulty to a person with COPD lung disease. If you (or someone you know) is ever faced with having to deal with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the best thing to do is to consult with a qualified physician for the best recommendations and treatment options.