How Do Related Pulmonary or Lung Diseases Affect Quality of Life?

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is not just one disease, but a group of lung diseases mainly consisting of:

♦ Emphysema;

♦ Chronic bronchitis.

These are the two symptoms of COPD.

Since COPD is a progressive disease, it gets worse over time and makes it harder and harder to breathe. Coughing is a result of this disease and produces not only large amounts of mucus but shortness of breath, tightness of the chest, and wheezing.

The major cause of COPD is smoking or being continually exposed to second-hand smoking along with any products that can irritate the lungs such as chemical fumes, dust, or air pollution.

The word emphysema is derived from the Greek word emphysan which means inflate which in itself contains the word physan which means breath.

Emphysema is a progressive, long-term disease of the lungs. Shortness of breath is the primary reason of emphysema. It is called an obstructive lung disease because it destroys lung tissue around small sacs called calledalveoli, resulting in the inability of these air sacs to hold their functional shape when a person exhales. The main causes of emphysema are smoking and exposure to air pollution. If smoking is the reason, it can be prevented by cessation of smoking. As emphysema progressively worsens, the spherical air sacs change into sizable erratic pockets with wide holes in the inner walls which, in turn, results in a decline of the surface area of the lungs and restricts the amount of oxygen going into your blood stream.

Emphysema results in the loss of elasticity of the elastic fibers that keep the small airways that lead to the air sacs open. As a result, the airways collapse when exhaling, thus retaining the air in the lungs. Unfortunately, treatment may delay the progression of emphysema but sadly cannot reverse the existing damage.

Chronic Bronchitis is the chronic inflammation of the medium-size airways called bronchi in the lungs. Symptoms include unrelenting cough, producing phlegm as well as mucus. The mucus is usually yellowish green or orange and pink in colour. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, and prolonged exhalation. It is clinically accepted that if these symptoms persist for at least three months per year in a two-year consecutive duration, then it is defined as chronic bronchitis. Cigarette smoking is a major cause of chronic bronchitis.

If you do not smoke, do not start and if you already smoke, stop. This can avoid several medical conditions which are not only unpleasant, but could be painful and life threatening. By building your immune system, eating a healthy and balanced diet, avoiding stress, making sure you take antioxidants in order to protect your cells from the ravaging effects of free radicals, there is a good chance you can decrease the risks of threatening illnesses and diseases.

Article Source: Hosna Gelfand

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