What is COPD (Pulmonary Disease)?
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is characterised by two main diseases, Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema. Chronic Bronchitis is when a large amount of spit or septum is brought up with a cough every day for three months of the year over a period of two years. Emphysema is when the air spaces in the lungs get bigger and their walls are destroyed.
Over many years the walls of the airways get thicker in response to the inflammation and more mucus is produced. Damage to the delicate walls of the air sacs in the lungs means the lungs lose their normal elasticity.
How common is COPD (Pulmonary Disease)?
COPD is one of the most common respiratory diseases in the UK. Around 835,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed with COPD, but it is thought that there are about 2 million people living with the disease who have not been diagnosed.
COPD usually affects people over the age of 35, and it affects more men than women.
What are the symptoms of COPD (Pulmonary Disease)?
The changes in the lungs cause the symptoms of a cough, difficulty breathing and phlegm, and you will be more likely to get infections which will last longer and be harder to get rid of.
How is COPD (Pulmonary Disease) treated?
Like asthma, any damage that has already occurred to your lungs cannot be reversed. Although COPD causes about 25,000 deaths a year in the UK, severe COPD can be prevented by making changes to your lifestyle. Stopping smoking is absolutely vital in any improvement in your COPD.
Treatment for COPD usually involves relieving the symptoms, for example by using an inhaler to make breathing easier.
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