Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (chronic obstructive lung disease, chronic obstructive airway disease) is a combination of two common lung disease – chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It is a permanent respiratory disease associated with long term exposure to cigarette smoking, gases and airborne dusts. Chronic bronchitis is a condition marked by a persistent cough and sputum production. In order for it to be diagnosed as chronic bronchitis, these symptoms should persist for at least 3 months in 2 consecutive years. Emphysema is characterized by progressive destruction of tissue necessary for maintaining shape and function of lungs. Treatment options are lifestyle modification (smoking cessation), drugs, oxygen therapy and surgery (in some cases).
Initial mild cases of COPD usually do not produce any symptom. Gradually with time the disease progresses and symptoms of COPD become prominent.
COPD patients frequently experience acute lung infections (cold, pneumonia). In the long run COPD may lead to heart diseases (heart failure due to inadequate oxygen supply and high blood pressure). Chronic progressive breathlessness may lead to depression in patients.
COPD is a combination of two lung conditions chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Chronic bronchitis is characterized by cough and noisy breathing (wheezing). In this condition there is increased number and activity of mucous-producing cells (goblet cells) which leads to profuse sputum production. Inflammation of the walls of the airway leads to thickening and remodeling of the airways. All the above mentioned changes lead to narrowing of the airways and breathing trouble.
Emphysema causes distension or enlargement of air sacs and destruction of elastic tissue of the lung leading to progressive loss of lung tissue.
There are some factors which trigger the symptoms of COPD :
COPD is not curable and the disease progresses gradually despite treatment. The aim of treatment is :
Treatment options are :