Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), also known as chronic obstructive lung disease (COLD), chronic obstructive airway disease (COAD) and chronic obstructive respiratory disease (CORD), is a lung disease defined by persistently poor airflow as a result of breakdown of lung tissue and dysfunction of the small airways. It typically worsens over time.
Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two most common conditions that make up COPD. Chronic bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from your lungs. Emphysema occurs when the air sacs (alveoli) at the end of the smallest air passages (bronchioles) in the lungs are gradually destroyed.
Symptoms of COPD often don't appear until significant lung damage has occurred, and they usually worsen over time. For chronic bronchitis, the main symptom is a cough that you have at least three months a year for two consecutive years. Other signs and symptoms of COPD include:
- Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities
- Chest tightness
- Having to clear your throat first thing in the morning, due to excess mucus in your lungs
- A chronic cough that produces sputum that may be clear, white, yellow or greenish
- Blueness of the lips or fingernail beds (cyanosis)
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Lack of energy
- Unintended weight loss (in later stages)
People with COPD are also likely to experience episodes called exacerbations, during which their symptoms become worse and persist for days or longer.
The main cause of COPD is tobacco smoking. However, in the developing world, COPD often occurs in women exposed to fumes from burning fuel for cooking and heating in poorly ventilated homes.
Cigarette smoke and other irritants
In the vast majority of cases, the lung damage that leads to COPD is caused by long-term cigarette smoking. But there are likely other factors at play in the development of COPD, such as a genetic susceptibility to the disease, because only about 20 percent of smokers develop COPD.
Other irritants can cause COPD, including cigar smoke, secondhand smoke, pipe smoke, air pollution and workplace exposure to dust, smoke or fumes.
In about 1 percent of people with COPD, the disease results from a genetic disorder that causes low levels of a protein called alpha-1-antitrypsin. Alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAt) is made in the liver and secreted into the bloodstream to help protect the lungs. Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency can affect the liver as well as the lungs.
Risk Factors for COPD include:
- Exposure to tobacco smoke. The most significant risk factor for COPD is long-term cigarette smoking. The more years you smoke and the more packs you smoke, the greater your risk. Pipe smokers, cigar smokers, marijuana smokers and people exposed to large amounts of secondhand smoke also are at risk.
- People with asthma who smoke. The combination of asthma, a chronic airway disease, and smoking increases the risk of COPD even more.
- Occupational exposure to dusts and chemicals. Long-term exposure to chemical fumes, vapors and dusts in the workplace can irritate and inflame your lungs.
- Age. COPD develops slowly over years, so most people are at least 35 to 40 years old when symptoms begin.
- Genetics. An uncommon genetic disorder known as alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency is the source of some cases of COPD. Other genetic factors likely make certain smokers more susceptible to the disease.
Complications of COPD include:
- Respiratory infections. People with COPD are more susceptible to colds, the flu and pneumonia. Any respiratory infection can make it much more difficult to breathe and produce further damage to the lung tissue.
- High blood pressure. COPD may cause high blood pressure in the arteries that bring blood to your lungs (pulmonary hypertension).
- Heart problems. For reasons that aren't fully understood, COPD increases your risk of heart disease, including heart attack.
- Lung cancer. Smokers with chronic bronchitis have greater risk of developing lung cancer than do smokers who don't have chronic bronchitis.
- Depression. Difficulty breathing can keep you from doing activities that you enjoy. And dealing with serious illness can contribute to development of depression.
Homoeopathy not only relieves the symptoms of the patient but also prevents complications by acting on the root cause of the disease. Besides these medicines have no side effects & helps by strengthening one's immune system.
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