November is National COPD Awareness Month
 
By Member Joyce Shry
November 1, 2019
 

What is COPD?

Do you suffer from a frequent cough or wheeze? Are you often short of breath when running errands or climbing stairs? Your lungs could be trying to tell you something.

COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. Symptoms include breathing difficulty, mucus (sputum) production and wheezing. COPD is caused by long-term exposure to irritating gases and environmental factors, most often from smoking, dust or chemical exposure. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two most common conditions that contribute to COPD.

According to the American Lung Association, the disease affects millions of Americans and is the third leading cause of disease-related death in the U.S. It is often a preventable and treatable disease.
COPD is diagnosed by a simple test, called spirometry. It measures pulmonary—or lung—function and detects breathing problems.

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 is characterized by daily cough and mucus (sputum) production.

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.

With proper management, most people with COPD can achieve good symptom control and quality of life, as well as reduced risk of other associated conditions.

 
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