Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Small Air Sacs

Topics: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Emphysema, Oxygen Pages: 4 (905 words) Published: February 19, 2015
Rishal Rajay Sharma
Laird Sheldahl
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is any disease that causes obstruction in the pathway of air as it is going to the lungs for gas exchange. It causes poor air flow to the lungs, which makes it difficult for a person to breath. There are two main components to COPD and they are called Emphysema and Bronchitis. The symptoms of these diseases are coughing, shortness of breath, and sputum production, which is the mucus that comes up from the lower air passageways. COPD is something that should be prevented early on because there is no cure available and it dramatically affects the lifestyle of a patient (Silverman, Reilly, & Shapiro, 2011). The main cause of COPD is smoking cigarettes, but others factors like air pollution can also contribute. It is said that some of the significant sources of air pollution are poorly ventilated cooking and forest fires. Irritants can cause long time damage to the lungs resulting in narrower bronchioles and breakdown of alveoli, which is known as Emphysema. Emphysema and other diseases like Asthma and Bronchitis can be diagnosed with pulmonary function tests (Decramer, 2012). Emphysema is one of the two main components of COPD. Normally in the lungs, there are small air sacs called Alveoli. In a patient with emphysema, these small sacs start to break down into larger sacs because their walls collapse. There are lots of alveoli to increase surface area for efficiency of gas exchange, but when a person loses lots of alveoli, the lung then becomes less efficient in exchanging gas. Furthermore, emphysema makes breathing out air harder because it is much harder to squeeze air out of a big sac of air versus small sacs of air (Rabe & Hurd, 2007). Bronchitis is another one in the list of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. It is described as the inflammation of bronchi. This inflammation makes the pathway narrower, therefore...

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