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Respiratory Conditions: What Is COPD?

respiratoryYour respiratory system brings in oxygen and blows out carbon dioxide. When this function is interfered with, you have chronic obstructive lung disease.

3 Types

There are three main types of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD):

  • Chronic bronchitis. Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchi—the air passages that connect the windpipe to the sacs of the lungs. This leads to swelling of the bronchial walls and excessive mucus production.
  • Emphysema. Emphysema involves destruction of the lung’s air-sac walls. Chronic bronchitis often precedes it.
  • Asthma. Asthma is an inflammation of the lower airways, which obstructs airflow. It’s characterized by wheezing, coughing, chest pain and chest tightening. Often it’s allergy related.

Causes and Risk Factors

These things may put you at risk for COPD:

  • Smoking
  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Low-level infection
  • Environmental pollutants
  • Allergies

Symptoms

People with COPD may have:

  • Progressive shortness of breath
  • A phlegm-producing cough
  • Rapid, labored breathing
  • A blue tinge to the skin
  • Breathing difficulties when lying flat

Possible consequences of COPD include:

  • Temporary flare-ups
  • Respiratory failure, leading to heart-rhythm irregularities
  • Early death

Treatment

If you smoke, your doctor will recommend that you quit. In addition, possible treatments include:

  • Taking medications
  • Using inhalers
  • Getting oxygen therapy
  • Having surgery

In-Home Care

To learn how our reliable, compassionate caregivers can help people living with COPD, please contact us today to experience the Preferred Care at Home difference.

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