CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY DISEASE
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) presents significant challenges to a person's ability to carry out functional tasks and participate in social networks. Such factors are widely recognized as contributing to a person's sense of self identity, health and well-being. (Kerr, A, and C Ballinger 2010) Although there is no cure, the symptoms of COPD can be managed and damage to your lungs can be slowed down. If you smoke, quitting is the most important thing you can do to help your lungs.
WHAT IS CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY DISEASE?
In chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the airways and tissues of the lungs gradually become damaged over time, causing increasing shortness of breath. Eventually some people with this condition become so short of breath that they are seriously disabled and unable to carry our even the simple daily activities. COPD is twice as common in men as women and is almost always caused by smoking.
People with COPD usually have three separate lung conditions, chronic bronchitis, chronic asthma and emphysema, however either one may be dominant (Harris, Nagy and Vardaxis, 2010)
• Symptoms: After smoking 20 or more cigarettes a day for more than twenty years, patients with COPD can develop a chronic cough, shortness of breath, and frequent respiratory tract infections.
• When COPD is in advanced stages patients may develop cyanosis due to a lack of oxygen in blood and morning headaches due to an inability to remove carbon dioxide from the blood. Some patients suffer weight loss due to the use of additional energy that is required to breathe. In advanced COPD, small blood vessels in the lungs are destroyed, and as a result, the heart must pump with increased force and pressure to get blood to flow through the lungs. If the heart cannot cope with the additional work, failure of the right heart results and leads to swelling of the feet and ankles. Patients may... [continues]
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