Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a respiratory disease process that is actually the result of both chronic obstructive bronchitis and emphysema.The damage is the result of repeated episodes of infection and respiratory distress that results in scarring of the alveoli in the lungs.
The lungs look like and upside down tree with the main trunk, the bronchial tubes that split to form the right and left lung. The right lung has three lobes and the left lung has two. The heart takes up a lot of space in the left side, which is why the right lobe has a middle lobe, and the left lung does not. Each lobe of both lungs contain tiny air sacs, or alveoli. In a normal lung, these little sacs are elastic and expand and constrict with every breath.
However, with the disease process of COPD the air sacs lose their elasticity and they can barely open or close, and the walls of the lobes also become thick and inflamed and the lungs fill with thick fluid and mucus. Sometimes this leads to severe respiratory distress and sometimes the person with COPD can function fairly well. However, once diagnosed with COPD, the disease process progresses and worsens gradually over time.
Some of the causes of COPD are something the person breathes into their lungs over a long period of time that causes continued irritation and inflammation to the lungs. Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of COPD and unfortunately, is often diagnosed years after the person has stopped smoking. Many times this can be traced back to the amount of cigarettes that person consumed during their lifetime.
Even persons who are secondhand smokers are also at risk of contracting COPD as well as pipe and cigar smokers, if they inhale the smoke. Although many improvements, thanks to OSHA , to the workplace have been set in place in the last several decades, exposure to workplace lung irritants are also a risk factor in the causes of COPD.
There is only one form of genetic COPD, a rare condition diagnosed at birth calledalpha-1 antitrypsin deficiencyAplpha 1 is a protein found in the liver and it is felt the lack of this protein may play a part in children who are born with COPD. However, the majority of persons with COPD are or were smokers over their entire lifetime.
Please! Stop Smoking NOW!