Date of publication: 2017-08-13 23:00
Emphysematous destruction and small airway inflammation often are found in combination in individual patients, leading to the spectrum that is known as COPD. When emphysema is moderate or severe, loss of elastic recoil, rather than bronchiolar disease, is the dominant mechanism of airflow limitation. By contrast, when emphysema is mild, bronchiolar abnormalities are most responsible for the majority of the deficit in lung function. Although airflow obstruction in emphysema is often irreversible, bronchoconstriction due to inflammation accounts for some reversibility. Airflow limitation is not the only pathophysiologic mechanism by which symptoms occur.
Medically speaking, breathlessness or shortness of breath is called dyspnea. Dyspnea also refers to difficult or labored breathing. Dyspnea is a sign of serious disease of the airway, lungs, or heart, and is the most significant symptom of COPD. It does not usually occur until the sixth decade of life (in people aged 55 to 59 years).
The onset of shortness of breath should not be ignored. If you or someone you know experience these symptoms, see a health care professional.
Incidentally, and importantly, the study showed a mortality benefit from smoking cessation. These data suggest that detailed end-of-life discussions with newly diagnosed COPD patients would be premature and irrelevant, but a stop-smoking intervention at this early stage of COPD would save lives.
Join the NHLBI and the COPD Learn More Breathe Better ® program as we raise awareness about COPD and encourage those at risk to discuss symptoms with a doctor.
Try to avoid lung irritants such as second-hand smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes, and dust. If there is a lot of air pollution or dust outside, keep your windows closed and, if possible, stay at home.
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference
Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.
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Living with COPD may cause fear, anxiety, depression, and stress. This is perfectly understandable, so please do tell your GP or health care team how you are feeling so that they can support you.
Check with your GP or physio what activities or exercise are suitable for you. Depending on how severe your condition is, you may need to ask your family and friends for help with daily tasks.
In this type, chronic bronchitis plays the major role. Chronic bronchitis is defined by excessive mucus production with airway obstruction and notable hyperplasia of mucus-producing glands, as depicted in the images below.