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Chronic Obstruction Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

  Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive condition involving a constant obstruction of the airways, which results in difficulty breathing. COPD usually includes emphysema and/or chronic obstructive bronchitis; both of these conditions usually develop from long-term cigarette smoking. In some cases, however, COPD can be caused by other irritants, such as air pollution and chemical fumes.

Causes of COPD Most cases of COPD are caused by long-term exposure to lung irritants such as cigarette smoke, secondhand smoke, air pollution and chemical fumes that damage the lungs and irritate the airways.

COPD is most commonly diagnosed in middle-aged and older adults, although some younger patients may be diagnosed because of an alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, a genetic condition.

Patients with COPD may also experience frequent colds or flu, along with swelling in the ankles, feet and legs in severe cases. Symptoms worsen over time, and may require a hospital stay if they become severe enough or do not respond to treatment.

Diagnosing COPD

After evaluating your symptoms and medical history, your doctor may perform lung function tests or a chest X-ray to diagnose COPD. A lung function test measures how much air you can breathe in and out, how fast you breathe and how well the lungs carry oxygen to the blood. The most common lung function test is called spirometry.

Treatment of COPD

Since COPD is a chronic condition, there is no cure currently available. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and slowing the progress of the disease, allowing patients to enjoy an active and healthy life . The most important step that patients can take in treating COPD is to quit smoking. Your doctor may also prescribe medication to relax the muscles and relieve inflammation around the airways, oxygen therapy or pulmonary rehabilitation. Surgery may be performed for severe cases of emphysema to clear the airways from large obstructions.

 

 

 

Asthma

  Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways that makes breathing difficult. With asthma, there is inflammation of the air passages that results in a temporary narrowing of the airways that carry oxygen to the lungs. These blockages can cause mild coughing to full blown asthma attacks.

Symptoms of asthma include:

If it is severe, asthma can result in decreased activity and inability to talk. Some people refer to asthma as "bronchial asthma".

Inadequate treatment of the disease limits the ability to exercise and be active. Poorly controlled asthma can lead to multiple visits to the emergency room and even hospital admission, which can affect your performance at home and work.

Asthma Diagnosis and Treatment:

Cases of asthma can vary from occurring a few times a week up to a few times everyday. Certain diagnostic tests like a spirometry and peak flow can be used to diagnose asthma if these symptoms are present.Although asthma is a serious condition with no cure,it can usually be controlled through long-term medications. Quick-relief medications can also be used to treat attacks. It is important to monitor your asthma symptoms and take measures to avoid triggers and prevent serious attacks.

 

 

 

Lung Cancer

  The lungs are essential organs within the respiratory system that help you breathe by taking in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. Lung cancer is one of the most common and deadliest types of cancer, killing more people each year than colon, prostate, ovarian, lymph and breast cancer combined.

Most cases of lung cancer are caused by smoking, which may include secondhand smoking as well. In some cases, people who have never smoked or had prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke may develop lung cancer as a result of excessive alcohol use, certain lung diseases or a family history of lung cancer.

Patients with lung cancer may not experience any symptoms during the early stages, which can make diagnosis difficult. As the disease progresses, patients may experience:

Treatment for lung cancer depends on the severity of the condition and the overall health of the patient, but may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or medication. A combination of treatments may be used in order to achieve the most effective results for each individual patient. Some patients may not need any treatment other than monitoring the disease, or may choose not to undergo certain treatments because of the associated side effects.

Your doctor will help you decide which treatment is best for you after a thorough evaluation of your condition, as well as your medical history and overall health.

 

 

 

Bronchitis

  Bronchitis is a condition that often develops after a cold or other respiratory infection. As cold symptoms subside, you may develop a slight fever or the chills, along with a cough. Bronchitis can also develop from cigarette smoke or other pollutants and may be a chronic form of the condition.



Symptoms of bronchitis include:

Fortunately, like a cold, symptoms of bronchitis usually go away on their own after a few days. Getting plenty of rest and drinking liquids can help speed the process.

 

 

 

Emphysema

  Emphysema is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that is characterized by loss of elasticity in the alveolar tissue, usually caused by toxic chemicals within the body. The blood vessels feeding the alveoli are killed by these chemicals, causing air to become trapped in the lungs in collapsed regions of bronchioles. Gradually, the deterioration leads to significant decreases in lung surface area that make it difficult for the body to maintain oxygen levels in the blood, despite hyperventilation.

Most cases of emphysema are completely preventable, as they are caused by easily avoided substances. The most common of these is smoke from tobacco, which has many toxic chemicals that become trapped in the alveoli. The body’s natural inflammatory response then overcompensates by sometimes rupturing the alveolar septum, reducing the elasticity of the tissue and causing large bulbous pockets of stagnant air to form. Emphysema can also be caused, or simply exacerbated,by the existence of a genetic disorder known as Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency; the shortage of this enzyme causes further vulnerability of the alveolar elasticity.

Although there are a plethora of treatments for emphysema, it is considered a degenerative condition that cannot be cured. In order to successfully recover from this condition, it is important for patients to both quit smoking and avoid all cigarette and cigar smoke at all costs. Other common treatments include:

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