Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an irreversible lung condition. Diseases classified as COPD cause swelling of the large airways in the lungs, which obstructs or blocks the flow of air. Symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and decreased activity levels. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are common forms of COPD. Cigarette smoking is the main cause of COPD.
COPD is a long-term condition that gets worse over time. Quitting smoking, lung rehabilitation therapy, and medications, including oxygen, may help to improve symptoms. Lung surgery or lung transplantation may be appropriate for select people with severe COPD.
Cigarette smoking is the most common cause of COPD. In particular, cigarette smoking can damage the alveoli in the lungs and the cilia in the airways. As the condition progresses, the lungs do not exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide efficiently. Mucous that builds up can lead to an infection.
Your doctor may use a pulse oximeter to determine the amount of oxygen in your blood. For this test, a probe will simply be placed on your fingertip. A medical device attached to the probe displays the percentage of oxygen in your blood.
Am I at Risk
Risk factors may increase your likelihood of developing COPD, although some people that develop the condition do not have any risk factors. People with all of the risk factors may never develop the disease; however, the chance of developing COPD increases with the more risk factors you have. You should tell your doctor about your risk factors and discuss your concerns.
Risk factors for COPD:
_____ Cigarette smoking or exposure to second hand smoke is the main cause of COPD.
_____ Air pollution appears to contribute to COPD.
_____ People with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency are at an increased risk for the COPD.
Alpha-1 antitrypsin is a substance in the lungs that may protect against lung destruction leading to emphysema.
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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.
The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.