Topics: Asthma, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Pneumonia Pages: 4 (1063 words) Published: May 28, 2014
What are the causes, symptoms and treatments for
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?

“Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung ailment that is characterized by a persistent blockage of airflow from the lungs” ( World Health Organisation (WHO) website, nd). This report will examine the causes, symptoms and treatment of COPD. It will discuss current statistics on COPD and some of the current treatments available. Multiple sources were used including websites, leaflets and government documents.

Over 440,000 people in Ireland are thought to have COPD ( Living with COPD website, nd). By 2020, it is predicted to be the third leading cause of death worldwide (Living with COPD website, 2013). A recent COPD audit in Europe discovered that 50% of sufferers will die or be readmitted to hospital within a 3 month period (Living with COPD website, 2013). Approximately 1400 people die every year from the condition (Oireachtas website, 2013). Ireland has one of the highest incidents of death in Europe from COPD (Living with COPD website, 2013). COPD is an irreversible lung disease which causes permanent lung damage. In COPD, the airflow to the lungs become narrower and blocked and breathing becomes difficult (COPD Support website, nd). COPD is an umbrella term for Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema (Living with COPD website, nd).

The single biggest cause of COPD is smoking. 80-90% of people with the condition have COPD due to smoking. (COPD Support website, 2009). Other causes are air pollution, exposure to fumes or dust particles at work, passive smoking, recurring respiratory infections in early life and a rare genetic disorder called Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute website, nd).

Diagnosis and Symptoms

A breathing test called Spirometry is used to diagnose COPD (COPD FOUNDATION Website, nd). The test measures how well a person breathes. In Ireland, access to Spirometry Tests...
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