Sunday, 2 October 2011

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the most common lung diseases. It makes it difficult to breathe. There are two main forms of COPD:
- Chronic bronchitis, which involves a long-term cough with mucus.
- Emphysema, which involves destruction of the lungs over time.

Smoking is the leading cause of COPD. The more a person smokes, the more likely that person will develop COPD. However, some people smoke for years and never get COPD.
In rare cases, nonsmokers who lack a protein called alpha-1 antitrypsin can develop emphysema.
Other risk factors for COPD are:
- Exposure to certain gases or fumes in the workplace.
- Exposure to heavy amounts of secondhand smoke and pollution.
- Frequent use of cooking fire without proper ventilation.\

1. Cough, with or without mucus
2. Fatigue
3. Many respiratory infections
4. Shortness of breath that gets worse with mild activity
5.Trouble catching one's breath
6. Wheezing

There is no cure for COPD. However, there are many things you can do to relieve symptoms and keep the disease from getting worse.
Persons with COPD MUST stop smoking. This is the best way to slow down the lung damage.
Medications used to treat COPD include:
- Inhalers (bronchodilators) to open the airways, such as ipratropium (Atrovent), tiotropium (Spiriva),    salmeterol (Serevent), formoterol (Foradil)
- Inhaled steroids to reduce lung inflammation
- Anti-inflammatory medications

In severe cases or during flare-ups, you may need to receive:
- Steroids by mouth or through a vein (intravenously)
- Bronchodilators through a nebulizer
- Oxygen therapy
- Assistance during breathing from a machine (through a mask, BiPAP, or endotracheal tube)

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