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What Causes COPD
COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is an umbrella term for ailments that effect millions of people. The two illnesses that are covered by the term COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema, though there are other ailments that may mimic symptoms of COPD. No one is sure what exactly causes COPD, though there are certain definite risk factors that should be avoided. If you have been exposed to a great deal of smoke or pollution, or if you have been around certain chemical fumes or gasses, then your chance of suffering from symptoms of COPD is greatly increased. On the other hand, people who have never been exposed to any of these factors can still develop COPD. Some of these people have other chronic respiratory problems that display themselves through some of the same symptoms as COPD.
Pneumonia Signs Symptoms
Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs that can take one of several forms. These infections can be either bacterial or viral, and very often progress to a stage requiring hospitalization. Many of the symptoms of pneumonia coincide with the symptoms of COPD, such as increased coughing and/or coughing up phlegm. Like COPD, the symptoms of pneumonia can vary.
CHF Signs Symptoms
While the signs of CHF, or congestive heart failure, are similar, but it’s important to differentiate one from the other. Both cause shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, especially if the patient in question is exerting themselves in any manner. The difference is that those who suffer from COPD suffer from a respiratory complain that disallows the efficient intake of oxygen, while CHF occurs when the heart cannot pump blood in an efficient manner, thus depriving the body of oxygen and causing blood to collect in the area of the lungs. In one, it is the respiratory system itself that isn’t working. In the other, it is the cardiovascular system that is faulty and is causing the respiratory system to malfunction. One important note of interest is that the one condition can have an effect on the other.
Emphysema Signs Symptoms
Emphysema is generally the result of the intake of pollutants into the lungs over a long period of time, and results, even after the intake ceases, in the slow destruction of the lungs. Emphysema is one of the leading types of COPD. There is no cure, though there are treatments. The symptoms include recurring respiratory infections.
Asthma Signs Symptoms
Asthma has some symptoms that also define COPD, such as difficulty breathing, and coughing. It is, however, an entirely different illness. For example, while COPD patients do experience exacerbations, they are somewhat different from the asthma attacks that asthma patients suffer from. Furthermore, the substances that trigger asthma attacks are far wider ranging than the substances that cause COPD.
COPD Signs Symptoms
The main COPD signs and symptoms include stiffness in the air pockets of the lungs, increased production of mucus, and swelling of the bronchial tract. In short, any of the symptoms that characterize emphysema or chronic bronchitis are also those that characterize COPD.
In the case of emphysema based COPD, the first thing that would help to treat the COPD is to stop smoking immediately after diagnosis (though they should have stopped long before that). From there, it’s important to set up a valid treatment system with your doctor. All areas of life can be considered a means of treatment for COPD, from your diet and exercise, to the quality of the air you breathe, to the medication that you take. A diagnosis of COPD is a serious thing, but the fact is that COPD life expectancy varies from person to person. The further along a person is in COPD staging, the more endangered they are, but it still may be possible for them to stall further degeneration and advancement of COPD symptoms and signs. Some people may still have mild COPD symptoms when they are diagnosed, which gives them a better chance of the treatments for COPD being effective for longer.