Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a long-term inflammation in the lungs that causes obstructed air flow. COPD is not one condition, but a group of obstructive lung disorders. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two most common conditions seen with COPD. They usually occur together and are most often caused by long-term exposure to cigarette smoke. Exposure to dust, fumes and chemicals, air pollution, and secondhand smoke can also cause COPD. It is the third leading cause of disease-related death in the United States.
Emphysema causes the alveoli at the end of the bronchial tubes (air passages that carry air to and from the alveoli) of the lungs to be destroyed, while chronic bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes.
COPD is a progressive condition, meaning it worsens over time, and many symptoms do not appear until the disease is fairly advanced. Symptoms can include wheezing, shortness of breath, chronic cough (which may produce mucus), frequent upper respiratory infections, and low energy.
Diagnosis can be made using spirometry, which tests lung function by blowing air into a mouthpiece attached to a machine that measures the amount and force of air being blown out. This may be followed by a chest x-ray, chest CT scan, and/or arterial blood gas analysis.
COPD can be caught in the earlier, mild stages and is sometimes treated only by having the patient quit smoking. In the later stages there are effective treatments that can slow progression, control symptoms, and improve quality of life. There are many medications available to treat COPD, both inhaled and oral. More severe cases are often treated with supplemental oxygen, which can be used at home. For people with severe COPD, surgery can also be used when medications are not effective.
Lifestyle changes can also help in treating COPD. Staying well hydrated, eating well, exercising regularly, and avoiding secondhand smoke and air pollution can slow lung damage and help the patient feel better.
Bio-Touch is a gentle, hands-on technique that is easy to learn and serves as an effective complementary therapy for COPD and other respiratory conditions.
The information presented here is for educational purposes only. Medical advice is neither offered nor implied. Please consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.