The acronym COPD in full means chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The American Lung Association has established that nearly 13.1 million Americans suffer from COPD. Early treatment can enable you to recover quickly from COPD and avoid numerous complications it can trigger. Below are some of the few things your doctor at Integrated Family Medical Center would like you to know about COPD.
What does COPD involve?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a swelling disorder affecting the lungs. Your lungs are essential in enriching your blood with oxygen while extracting toxic gasses. If you have COPD, there will be impeded air circulation to your lungs.
Due to reduced air passage to and from your lungs, it becomes challenging for you to inhale and exhale (breathe). Other symptoms that can appear are frequent mucus secretion and noisy breathing.
If the inflammatory condition affecting your lung worsens without treatment, you might experience unintentional weight loss.
Potential triggers and risk factors for COPD
The long-lasting blockage in airflow to and out of the lungs can be due to a health condition such as emphysema. Emphysema is a lung disease characterized by damaged air sacs in your lungs.
The minute air sacs of your lungs are called alveoli. They are naturally designed to promote the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide as humans inhale and exhale.
If you have an illness that impacts your lungs, the alveoli, which have frail walls, can become easily ruined. The collapsing and destruction of alveoli walls will make it difficult for your lungs to enable healthy gaseous exchange.
Chronic bronchitis can also lead to the appearance of COPD. Your lungs contain bronchi, which are tubular structures linked to your windpipe. These structures provide access to air throughout your lungs.
Your lungs’ inflamed and narrowed tubes will trigger the excess mucus secretion. All these can contribute to severe blocking of the bronchi or bronchial tubes.
If your bronchial tubes are chronically inflamed and narrowed, your body will trigger constant coughing. Coughing is a mechanism your body initiates to open your airways and improve your breathing.
Other potential sources of irritants can affect your lung and its structures. For instance, cigarette smoke contains many irritating chemicals that can lead to lung swelling and narrowing.
You can also get COPD because you live or work in polluted environments. Constant exposure to motor vehicle fumes or workplace dust can lead to COPD.
Complications of COPD
You become prone to complications if you do not get medical treatment for your inflamed lung. For example, COPD can cause heart illnesses or the development of cancerous cells.
Because your lungs are weakened, you might often have respiratory illnesses like flu and pneumonia. Respiratory tract infections can further harm your lungs and make it troublesome for you to breathe.
COPD can also increase the blood pressure in the arteries of your lungs. High-pressured lungs can damage or weaken pulmonary arterial walls.
Contact Integrated Family Medical Center today to schedule an appointment with a doctor that can diagnose and treat COPD.