Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, commonly known as COPD, is a group of progressive lung diseases, the most common being emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Emphysema – is an irreversible lung disease that slowly destroys air sacs in the lungs, resulting in the interference of air flow in and out of the lungs. People at high risk of getting it are cigarette and marijuana smokers and those who are regularly exposed to chemicals.
First signs of emphysema are shortness of breath and coughing, especially during exercise or physical activity.
Other symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Fast heartbeat
Affected people may develop bluish-gray lips or fingernails from lack of oxygen.
Bronchitis – is an inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes. These are tubes that carry air to and from the lungs. People who have the disease often have a persistent cough that brings up thickened, discoloured mucus. They may also experience wheezing, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
Signs of Bronchitis include persistent, heavy cough that brings up yellow, green, or white mucus from the lungs.
Other symptoms of chronic bronchitis may include:
- a fever
- chest discomfort
- sinus congestion
- bad breath
In the later stages of chronic bronchitis, the skin and lips may develop a bluish colour due to a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream. In addition, those affected may develop swelling in the legs and ankles because of low levels of oxygen in the blood stream.
Causes of COPD
The main cause of COPD is tobacco smoking and long-term exposure to chemicals.
There’s no cure for the disease, but treatment can help ease symptoms. Left untreated, COPD can lead to a faster progression of disease, heart problems, and worsening respiratory infections.
Living with COPD
COPD requires lifelong disease management. That means following advice provided by doctors and healthcare teams, adopting and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits including not smoking.
Source – Healthline.com