Copd Longterm Conditions

Topics: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Respiratory disease, Respiratory diseases Pages: 11 (3759 words) Published: April 9, 2013

Within the confines of this assignment, it is the hope of the author that the reader will obtain an understanding of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). This will be achieved by bringing the reader through the patients’ illness journey. The assignment will begin by defining COPD and briefly going through the pathophysiology and incidents of the condition. From there the reader will embark on the journey, starting with diagnosis. The author will attempt to give an in-depth exploration of the next stage, living for today while also discussing the Health Care Professionals’ role in providing a holistic approach to care. As COPD is a progressive lung disease (Kennedy, 2011) Symptom management is a major part of living with COPD, as such this assignment will look at Patients adherence and concordance to interventions. Symptoms such as breathlessness and fatigue will be discussed and the importance of smoking cessation addressed. Nutrition and healthy eating for patients with COPD will also be explored while also touching on the benefits of pulmonary rehabilitation. The author will then go on to briefly explore the transition and progression of the illness by looking at the comorbidity associated with the disease. Finally the author will attempt to in essence look at the end of life stage of the Patients’ journey. In order to do this the Author has undergone a literature search using cinhal and pub-med. Key search terms such as “COPD” “Holistic approaches to COPD” “Living with COPD” among others were used.

Pathophysiology and Incidents:

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an umbrella term used to cover many well known smoking related lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Chronic bronchitis is a progressive inflammatory disease resulting from prolonged irritation of the bronchial epithelium with changes to the bronchi that include, increased size and number of mucus glands, oedema and other inflammatory changes, reduction in number and function of ciliated cells and fibrosis of the airways along with breathlessness. (Waugh & Grant, 2010) Emphysema usually develops as a result of long-term inflammatory conditions or irritation of the airways. Occasionally it may be due to genetic deficiency in the lung of an antiroteolytic enzyme. These conditions lead to progressive destruction of supporting elastic tissue in the lung, and the lungs progressively expand. There is irreversible distention of the respiratory bronchioles, alveolar ducts and alveoli, reducing the surface area for the exchange of gases. (Waugh & Grant, 2010) COPD is one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in the world, (Nazir & Erbland, 2009. Halbert, 2003) affecting both men and women almost equally. (Murray et al. 2005) It accounted for more that 3 million deaths worldwide (5% of all deaths globally) in 2005. (WHO, 2007) And in 2004 respiratory disease accounted for over 6000 deaths in Ireland exceeding those from coronary heart disease and almost equal to all non-respiratory cancer-related deaths (Hynes, 2012). Primary care data for England show that 765 000 people have a general practice diagnosis COPD. (Nacul, 2010)


The diagnosis of COPD can be challenging for the patient as unlike other long term chronic conditions, COPD does not have a sudden onset. Many patients presenting with the condition can find it impossible to identify a “beginning” to their illness journey due to the insidious nature of the symptoms. (Pinnock et al. 2010) This however has a knock on effect when it comes to patients attempting to get an official diagnosis as few are diagnoses with COPD at a first consultation. Some patients can receive up to three possible diagnosis for their condition before an official diagnosis is agreed upon which can lead to the patient being confusion about the cause and outcome of their disease. (Scullion, 2008) Many Patients have found...
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