Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), also known as chronic obstructive lung disease (COLD), and chronic obstructive airway disease (COAD), is a collection of diseases which make breathing gradually more difficult. 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.
Symptoms of COPD include difficulty breathing and cough, in particular coughing up lots of phlegm. It is usually caused by smoking cigarettes, and around half of people who smoke for their whole lives will develop COPD. In the developing world, COPD often occurs in people exposed to fumes from burning fuel for cooking and heating in poorly ventilated homes.
At the beginning of the disease, the difficulty breathing is only noticeable when exercising, but over many years it gradually becomes worse, until there is difficulty breathing even when sitting or lying down. It can also lead to infections of the lung, which may be serious enough to cause death.
The most important step in treating COPD is to stop smoking. Exercise and medications can also help. The most commonly used medications are called bronchodilators, which help to open up the airways and allow more air into the lungs.
3% of all disability is related to COPD. People can die from COPD. The World Health Organization predicts that COPD will become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030. It is thought that more people will die from it in the future.
Types of COPDEdit
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.|
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