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COPD is an abbreviation for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. This chronic lung disease includes two main illnesses: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Unfortunately, there is no cure for COPD at the time.
Signs and symptoms of COPD
The most common symptom of COPD is dyspnea, or irregular and short breathing, lasting for months or even years. This irregular breathing is sometimes accompanied by wheezing, and a persistent cough with sputum production. The sputum may contain blood, usually due to damage of the blood vessels of the airways. In serious cases of COPD, it can also be accompanied with cyanosis caused by a lack of oxygen in the blood.
How do lungs normally work?
The human lungs are an extremely complex organ with a very large surface area, the main purpose of which is the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the body and the environment. The lungs have two main parts: bronchial tubes and alveoli - air sacs. We breathe, and the air goes through our wind pipe, then through bronchial tubes, and into the alveoli. From the alveoli, oxygen goes into blood while carbon dioxide moves out of blood.
In cases of COPD, the process is a bit different because the lining in bronchial tubes gets red and full of mucus, which blocks tubes and makes it hard to breathe. In cases of emphysema, alveoli are irritated and stiff, unable to hold enough air.