What is COPD?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of diseases causing an inflammatory reaction and irreversible damage to the lungs. They cause obstruction of airflow and difficulty breathing. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the most common diseases that makeup COPD. It’s a lifelong disease with periods of flare-ups. It negatively impacts the quality of life and longevity.
What is the prognosis of end-stage COPD?
What happens in COPD?
During inhalation, air travels through the nose and/or mouth into the trachea (windpipe). The trachea further divides into two tubes called bronchi, which opens into the lungs. Within the lungs, the bronchi branch out into smaller tubes called bronchioles. The end of the bronchioles opens into little air sacs called alveoli, which aid in gaseous exchange. The alveoli are surrounded by blood vessels, through which the exchange of gases, oxygen, and carbon dioxide takes place.
Exposure to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) triggers leads to the collection of different types of white blood cells and inflammation-causing chemicals in the lungs. This leads to tissue swelling, damage, and increased mucus secretion in the airway and air sacs.
Emphysema is a disease of the alveoli (air sacs). There is irreversible damage to the alveoli, making them less elastic. There is decreased exchange of gases, leading to decreased oxygenation in the body (hypoxia). Eventually, patients have severe breathing difficulties.
Chronic bronchitis is a disease of the bronchus (tubes that enter the lungs). The trachea can also be involved. Inflammation due to irritants causes inflammation, leading to an increase in the number and size of mucus-secreting glands. There is also damage to the cilia (small hair-like structures located in various parts of the body) to help clear mucus. There is decreased clearing of mucus that accumulates and thickens, causing airway obstruction. Long-term inflammation also leads to airway narrowing.
What are the signs and symptoms of end-stage COPD?
The signs and symptoms and severity depend on the stage of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and they worsen during flare-ups. There are four stages of COPD:
- Stage I: Mild COPD
- Stage II: Moderate COPD
- Stage III: Severe COPD
- Stage IV: Very severe COPD (End stage)
Signs and symptoms of stage I:
Symptoms are mild and often missed, but damage to the lungs begins.
Patients may only present with constant shortness of breath on exertion.
Signs and symptoms of stage II:
Symptoms are more severe than stage I, and there a mild impact on the quality of life. Patients present with
- Persistent cough with mucus, which may be worse in the morning.
- Shortness of breath even with mild routine activity.
- Wheezing on exertion.
- Disturbed sleep.
Signs and symptoms of stage III:
Stage III has a bigger impact on the quality of life.
Symptoms in stage III worsen considerably. In addition to that, patients present with
- Frequent respiratory tract infections.
- Swelling of the ankles, feet, and legs.
- Tightness in the chest.
- Trouble taking a deep breath.
- Wheezing and other breathing issues when doing basic tasks.
Signs and symptoms of stage IV (end-stage COPD):
This is the final stage of COPD. This occurs after years of continuous damage to the lungs. Patients have worsened symptoms of stage III and frequent flare-ups that could be fatal. Patients have very poor quality of life.
Patients also present with
- Barrel-shaped chest.
- Constant wheezing.
- Being out of breath.
- Increased heart rate or heartbeat.
- Loss of appetite and weight.
- Increased blood pressure.
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How is COPD caused?
Tobacco smoking: This accounts for 90% of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) risk.
- Passive smoking
- Indoor cooking with poor ventilation
- Air pollution
- Exposure to chemicals
- Exposure to industrial dust and fumes
- Intravenous drug abuse
- Infections such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Genetic disorders such as Marfans syndrome, Alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency, etc.
How is COPD treated?
It is important to talk to your doctor about your treatment options and to get answers to all of your questions.
- Short-term and long-term bronchodilators (inhalers)
- Oral steroids or steroid inhalers
- Medication to clear thin mucus and clear the airway
- Quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to other irritants
- Pulmonary rehabilitation
- Oxygen therapy
- Surgery in severe cases, for example, lung transplant may be required
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acetylcysteineAcetylcysteine, a mucolytic agent, is used to treat pulmonary diseases like chronic emphysema, asthmatic bronchitis, bronchiectasis, and acute pneumonia. Acetylcysteine breaks up mucus and makes it easier to cough up and clear the lungs. Common side effects include bronchospasm, odor, drowsiness, fever, coughing up blood (hemoptysis), increased volume of bronchial secretions, irritation of tracheal or bronchial tract, nausea, and others. Do not use if you have acute asthma. Consult your doctor if you have a history of bronchospasm, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
albuterol and ipratropium inhaler (Combivent Respimat)Albuterol and ipratropium inhaler (Combivent [discontinued], Combivent Respimat) is prescribed for the treatment of bronchospasm or narrowing of the airways caused by emphysema or bronchitis in individuals who require a second bronchodilator. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and pregnancy safety should be reviewed prior to taking this drug.
What Is Bronchiectasis?Bronchiectasis has three types: cylindrical bronchiectasis, saccular or varicose bronchiectasis, and cystic bronchiectasis. Causes of bronchiectasis include infection, environmental exposure, drug or alcohol abuse, and alpha-1 antitrypsin (congenital). Symptoms of bronchiectasis include shortness of breath, fatigue, chronic cough, bloody sputum, and wheezing. Treatment for bronchiectasis includes antibiotics and possibly surgery.
Can People With COPD Get Better?Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is not curable in any stage of the disease. With early diagnosis and treatment, disease progression and flare-ups can be controlled.
Can Someone with COPD Still Have Sex?COPD is a condition that leads to blockage of the airway. COPD may lead to sexual dysfunction, but you can still have sex with COPD.
cefuroximeCefuroxime is an antibiotic used to treat infections of the middle ear, sinuses, skin, tonsils, and throat, and to treat laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, gonorrhea, COPD, and early Lyme disease. Common side effects of cefuroxime include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headache, rash, hives, vaginitis, and mouth ulcers.
Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a lung condition caused by smoking tobacco, exposure to secondhand smoke, and/or air pollutants. Conditions that accompany COPD include chronic bronchitis, chronic cough, and emphysema.
Symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, wheezing, and chronic cough. Treatment of COPD includes GOLD guidelines, smoking cessation, medications, and surgery. The life expectancy of a person with COPD depends on the stage of the disease.
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COPD vs. Asthma (Differences and Similarities)COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and asthma both have common symptoms like coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and a tight feeling in the chest. COPD is caused by tobacco smoking, while asthma is caused by your inherited genetic makeup and their interactions with the environment. Risk factors for asthma are obesity, exposure to cigarette smoke (even secondhand smoke), and personal history of hay fever. There is no cure for either disease, but symptoms can be managed with medication. A person with asthma has a better prognosis and life expectancy than someone with COPD.
COPD vs. EmphysemaCOPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the term doctors and other healthcare professionals use to describe a group of serious, progressive (worsens over time), chronic lung diseases that include emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and sometimes asthma. The number one cause of COPD or emphysema, is smoking, and smoking is the third leading cause of death in the US.
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ipratropium bromide inhalerIpratropium bromide inhaler is a medication prescribed for the treatment of allergic or nonallergic rhinitis and rhinitis due to the common cold. Oral ipratropium is prescribed for the treatment of acute asthma flares and bronchospasms that result from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and emphysema. The most common side effects associated with ipratropium are dry mouth, cough, headache, nausea, dizziness, and difficulty breathing.
Trelegy Ellipta (fluticasone furoate)Trelegy Ellipta is indicated for the maintenance treatment of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma in patients aged 18 years and older. It NOT indicated for the relief of acute bronchospasm. Trelegy Ellipta combines 3 medicines in 1 inhaler, an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) medicine (fluticasone furoate), an anticholinergic medicine (umeclidinium), and a long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist (LABA) medicine (vilanterol).
What are the Four Stages of COPD?COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a group of diseases that cause an inflammatory reaction and irreversible damage in the lungs. The result is obstruction of normal airflow and breathing difficulties. COPD is a lifelong condition with periods of flare ups, and is not curable in any stage of the disease. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the most common diseases that make up COPD.
What Is BiPAP Used For?A bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machine is a noninvasive type of ventilation. It is used to help you breathe easier when you have conditions that make breathing difficult like sleep apnea, COPD, asthma, heart conditions and other ailments.
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