Symptoms, remedies, treatments and care for COPD
COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. It's caused by long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter such as cigarette smoke. Symptoms of COPD include breathing difficulty, chest tightness, cough, mucus (sputum) production and wheezing. People with COPD are at increased risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer and a variety of other conditions.
Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two most common conditions that contribute to COPD. Emphysema is a condition in which the alveoli at the end of the smallest air passages (bronchioles) of the lungs are destroyed as a result of damaging exposure to cigarette smoke and other irritating gases and particulate matter. Chronic bronchitis is inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from the air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs. It's characterized by daily cough and mucus (sputum) production. Infectious diseases of the lung may damage areas of the lung tissue which also contributes to COPD.
People who smoke are at the highest risk for developing COPD. Other risk factors include exposure to secondhand smoke or air pollution, especially pollution associated with wood or coal. In addition, individuals with airway hyper-responsiveness such as those with chronic asthma are at increased risk. Other factors that may increase the risk for developing COPD include drug use, immune deficiency syndromes, vasculitis syndrome, connective tissue disorders and genetic problems.
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