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COPD – Relevant Information

COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a medicalterm used for the both chronic bronchitis and emphysema. These are co-existingmedical conditions caused by the damage of the lung airways, leading to breathingproblems and chest congestion.

The possible causes of COPD are: chronic smoking, chroniclung infections, and air pollution or in rare cases genetic disorders(deficiency of alpha-1 antitrypsin). These patients don’t have the sameproblems as people suffering from asthma, since the condition is irreversible andprogresses with time. Airways are permanently damaged and the body increasinglygets less oxygen.

The diagnosis of COPD is established by lung function test.

Patients diagnosed with COPD are strongly advised to quitsmoking. The treatment includes courses of antibiotics to heal the lunginfection and inhalers to open the damaged airways. Patients might also receiveanti-inflammation medications and perform breathing exercises. Some of thepeople affected with COPD need oxygen therapy, and in rare cases patients,require surgery and lung transplantation.

COPD Prognosis

COPD is one of 10 leading causes of death in the world and 4thcause of death in the United States today. Estimation says that by the 2030 1of every 4 deaths would be caused by smoking.

The prognosis of your condition will help you understand yourCOPD case, risk of possible complications and life expectancy. If caught in theearly stages, the prognosis is certainly better, but the life expectancy isdifferent for every patient.

The treatment for COPD will reduce the risk ofcomplications, prolong your life and improve your life quality, but it can’tcure the problem. Eventually, patients die when the lungs stop, because theirbody doesn’t get the needed oxygen. Other causes of death might be serious complications.

The doctor will check the capacity of your lungs withspirometry test and determine FEV1 (forced expiratory volume in 1 second) and thestage of COPD. There are 3 stages of the disease, depending on the FEV1, including:mild, moderate and severe COPD.

Mild COPD patients have FEV1 above 80%. They experiencechronic cough and the airflow is mildly limited. These people are advised toquit smoking, because it can significantly and quickly worsen the current condition.Mild COPD is treatable, but the improvement and life expectancy depend on anumber of factors, including the lifestyle changes (such as smoking), age,gender, weight, height and also the treatment.

Patients having the FEV1 values between 30 and 50% arediagnosed with moderate COPD, and those whose FEV1 value goes below 30% are advancedCOPD patients.

Advanced COPD patients have a bad prognosis and only about25% of people survive for 5 years with his condition. Survival mainly dependson the function of the lungs and its worsening over time. Specialists agreethat the patient who lost 2/3 of the lung function has low chances to live morethan 10 years.

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