Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is not a single medical condition. It includes a group of lung diseases which feature with problems with breathing, shortness of breath, narrowing of the air ways and recurrent infections. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are two typical diseases that are classified as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Apart from this illnesses even chronic asthmatic bronchitis belongs to this group of illnesses. The major problem in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is inappropriate exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs. This consequently results in hypoxia and inadequate supply with all the body organs and tissues with oxygen.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is one of the leading causes of lethal outcome in the world. The condition is in majority of cases caused by smoking and it can be successfully prevented is a person gets rid of this filthy habit. The damage of the lung tissue is irreversible and in terminal stage of the disease the only treatment modality is lung transplantation.
Causes of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are two illnesses that belong to a group of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. The person can suffer from one of them and in some cases both of these diseases are present which makes the situation only worse.
Emphysema is a chronic inflammation of the lung tissue in which alveoli, the smallest parts of the lungs that are in charge with exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, are ruined. Namely, their destruction reduces the available surface for exchange of gasses and this consequently leads to hypoxia. In emphysema the lungs lose their elasticity and expand. They are also very susceptible to collapse.
Chronic bronchitis is a chronic inflammation of the large airways. The disease features with recurrent infections, excessive production of sputum and hypertrophy of the mucous glands in the airway. The bronchial tubes narrow in time preventing proper exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Sometimes chronic asthmatic bronchitis can be classified into chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. This medical condition features with contractions of the muscle tissue in the airways and excessive production of mucus.
Cigarette smoking is actually the leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Still there are other irritants which can contribute to the illness. They include secondary cigar smoke, pipe smoke, and numerous air pollutants. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can also occur in people who are professionally exposed to irritants and toxic fumes. GERD cannot be classified as a cause but it can certainly be one of the contributors of the disease.
In many cases the disease can be prevented. The risk significantly reduces if one quits smoking. People should also avoid second hand smoke. Professionally exposed people should be properly protected at work and have regular check-ups.