Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) affects approximately 32 million people in the United States alone. It is a major cause of illness and death in men both in the US and abroad. However, COPD is both preventable and treatable, especially if caught at an early stage. This preventability and treatability is why it is so important for a man to aware of the causes of, the signs and symptoms of, and the treatment options available for COPD.
What Is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?
COPD is currently thought of as a triad that includes elements of emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and asthma in which the airways of the lungs narrow over time. More information on each element can be found below.
The common thread in the triad of COPD is that patients with the disease slowly but progressively loss their ability to breath! Once an individual has COPD, treatment is essential to slow disease progression and prevent complete debilitation and potentially death.
Emphysema is an abnormal, permanent enlargement of the airspaces in the lungs where the transfer of oxygen between air and blood takes place. This results in air becoming trapped in the lungs thus preventing new air from entering and decreasing the ability of the lungs to oxygenate the blood.
Chronic Bronchitis is the chronic inflammation of the bronchi (medium-sized airways) in the lungs. It is defined as the presence of chronic productive cough that produces phlegm for at least 3 months for at least 2 consecutive years.
Asthma is the most common and well known of the three. It is a disorder that causes swelling of the airways in response to certain irritants leading to shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness.
To learn more about what causes Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, signs and symptoms of COPD, treatments, and prognosis, select a link below: