Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is an umbrella term that refers to a group of lung diseases that block airflow during exhalation, which makes it increasingly difficult to breath. Emphysema and chronic asthmatic bronchitis are the two main conditions that make up COPD. In all cases that damage to the airways eventually interferes with the exchange of the oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs (mayo).
COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that there is currently 16 million people in the United States diagnosed with COPD, with as many as 14 million people still being undiagnosed. Men are seven times more likely to be diagnosed with emphysema than women. As COPD develops over time it is most commonly seen in people over 40 years. “It is estimated that 5 to 7 percent of adult’s who are current or former smokers have moderate reductions in lung function and 3 to 5 percent have severe reductions” (copd-international). The mortality rate has increased 22% in just the last decade alone (copd-international).
As a general rule symptoms of COPD do not usually appear until there has been significant damage to the lungs, and they will worsen over time. The signs and symptoms of COPD can vary depending on which of the lung disease is more prominent, and many people have many symptoms at the same time. The symptoms are usually shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, chronic cough with or with out mucus, fatigue and many respiratory infections (ncbi) (mayo). COPD is typically caused by long term exposure to airborne irritants such as tobacco smoke, dust, chemical fumes and air pollutions. However the leading cause of COPD is smoking. The more a person smokes the more likely they are to develop COPD. There are rare cases where non-smokers can develop COPD because they lack a protein called alpha-1 antitrypsin (ncbi) (mayo)
Because COPD refers to obstruction in the lungs caused by chronic asthmatic bronchitis and...
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