COPD Progression

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					COPD is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. COPD refers to a group of
diseases that include chronic bronchitis, emphysema and asthmatic
bronchitis. COPD is a lung disease, mainly caused by smoking. COPD
progresses gradually and worsens over time. The rate of progression and
severity of symptoms may differ from one individual to another. COPD
cannot be cured, though it can be controlled. A common characteristic of
these diseases is the difficulty to breathe out of the lungs. Cystic
fibrosis, bronchiectesis and genetic forms of emphysema may also cause
COPD. Progression of the disease is associated with degradation of
elastin in the walls of the alveoli, resulting in the functional
destruction of the organs concerned.Symptoms range from the hardly
noticeable to the unbearable. Early symptoms of COPD include daily
morning coughs with clear sputum. During a cold or other respiratory
infection, the cough may become more noticeable, and the sputum turns
yellow or greenish. After a cold or respiratory infection, wheezing may
occur. COPD is referred to as the silent disease because symptoms
generally progress slowly and almost unnoticeably. At first shortness of
breath occurs during exercise. Patients with COPD may experience
difficulty in breathing, chronic cough, weight loss and periods of
symptoms so severe, they require hospitalization.There is a direct causal
relationship between COPD and smoking, clearly indicated in COPD
progression. In many cases, after 10 years of smoking, a person develops
a chronic cough with the production of a small amount of sputum. At the
age of 40, there is only shortness of breath during exertion. But by the
age of 50, the shortness of breath becomes more common. This is followed
by a morning cough related to smoking. These symptoms may not seem
serious at first, but they gradually progress to the point where
activities of daily living, such as walking, dressing and even eating,
cause extreme shortness of breath.In the United States, 90% of COPD
occurs due to smoking. Only about 15% of chronic smokers will go on to
develop clinically significant COPD. Once diagnosed with COPD, it is
essential to give up smoking. Although cessation of smoking can help to
slow the progression of the disease, currently, there is no effective
treatment for COPD. Needless to say, COPD is one of the greatest health
problems facing America and the world today.

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