COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and this is the disease of the lungs. When a patient suffers from COPD, the airways on the lungs of the patient become narrowed. The narrowing of the airways on the lungs will limit the flow of air to lungs and in the process causing shortness of breathing on the part of the patient. COPD is much worse than asthma since the limitation of airflow can’t readily be reversed and this can get worse over time.
This disease has many names in the medical field, and others refer to this disease as the chronic obstructive lung disease, the chronic obstructive airway disease, the chronic airflow limitation and the chronic obstructive respiratory disease. The COPD is one dangerous disease. In fact based on records and available data, COPD is ranked sixth as the leading cause of death in the world for the year 1990. And based on these figures, it has been projected that this lung disease is expected to be the third leading cause of death worldwide in the year 2020.
The sudden risk caused by COPD is due to the increase in people who smoke and the demographic changes in many countries. In the US, COPD is considered as the fourth leading cause of death. In economic terms the cost of the disease to the US economy in 2007 is pegged at $42.6 billion in terms of health care costs and loss in productivity.
This disease is usually caused by the noxious particles and the gases that can be traced to smoking. These particles and the smoke from cigarettes are the ones that can trigger abnormal inflammatory response in the lungs of the person. If the inflammation response happens at the larger part of the airways, then that is called as chronic bronchitis. Emphysema happens if the tissues of the lungs are destroyed due to the inflammatory response. In order for this lung disease to be properly diagnosed, the patient is required to undergo some lung function tests.
Treatment For COPD
And when the disease has been verified, then proper treatment procedures are conducted. A person who has COPD should adopt a number of strategies in order to manage and to combat this lung disease. Some of these important strategies include saying no to smoking, vaccinations, rehabilitation and drug therapy. Drug therapies can be done thru the use of inhalers. Other patients who have COPD are made to undergo long term oxygen therapy or lung transplant.
The inhalers that are suggested help dilate the airways and the theophylline. Most of the time, the inhaled steroids can be used to contain lung inflammation and can suppress flare-ups. Usually antibiotics are also used during the flare-ups of the symptoms of COPD. In some cases, surgery is suggested for COPD. Surgery calls for the removal of some parts of the lung and based on some surgeries and research, this has been proven to be effective. Lung rehabilitation can be effective as well. For severe cases of COPD, lung transplant may be recommended.