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COPD Lung Disease

Updated on March 20, 2013

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.

Image courtesy of Microsoft Office Clip Art
Image courtesy of Microsoft Office Clip Art

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.

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    • SteadyHubs profile imageAUTHOR

      SteadyHubs 

      5 years ago from Georgia, USA

      @Leaderofmany: Many thanks!

      @PAUL: Sorry to hear that. The symptoms of COPD sound very oppressive.

    • profile image

      PAUL 

      6 years ago

      I HAVE COPD,I THINK THERE IS NO WOSE CONDION

      I HAVE A GOOD FRIEND WITH CANCER AND HAS BETTER LIFE THAN ME.JUST REMBER DO NOT SMOKE.

    • Leaderofmany profile image

      Leaderofmany 

      6 years ago from Back Home in Indiana

      With recently being told I have COPD, it's great to find all the information without it being so medical. Thank you

    • SteadyHubs profile imageAUTHOR

      SteadyHubs 

      8 years ago from Georgia, USA

      I appreciate the kind words, voinetwork, planetcaravan72, and bheem!

    • profile image

      bheem 

      8 years ago

      Informative and well written hub on COPD.

      This is almost a silent but severe disease about which people are least known in comparison to other life threatening diseases.

    • profile image

      planetcaravan72 

      8 years ago

      Very well written and inforational. I learned a lot of interesting facts about COPD lung disease. Thank you.

    • voinetwork profile image

      voinetwork 

      8 years ago from Cape Coral, FL

      Interesting story, very informational. When my father passed from lung cancer, I was told he also had COPD, and I didn't know much about it. It explains the bad cough, and the reoccuring cases of the common cold (which turned into pneumonia everytime). Check out my story.

      Thanks

      Jessica

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