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Pulmonary Disease: All about COPD

  By posted Feb 18th 2013
Healthy Living

Pulmonary Disease: What is COPD?


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a term used to describe chronic lung diseases that causes obstructions in lung airflow. The three types of lung diseases are chronic bronchitis, chronic asthma and emphysema. 


Chronic bronchitis - In chronic bronchitis, the narrowing and obstruction of the airways is due to the inflammation and swelling of the lining of the airways. This inflammation can also stimulate additional production of mucous, which can cause more obstruction. Obstruction caused due to mucous, increases the likelihood of bacterial lung infections as well. It is also commonly known as ‘daily cough’. 


Emphysema - In emphysema, there occurs a permanent widening of the alveoli due to the destruction of the walls between alveoli. This destruction reduces the elasticity of the lungs, which further obstruct airflow out of the alveoli due to the damage done to the bronchioles. Due to the lack of elasticity, air gets trapped in the alveoli and it decreases the ability of the lung to shrink during exhalation. This extra trapped air reduces the amount of air which has to be taken in during the next breathe. This trapped air can also prevent the nearby lung tissues from functioning to its fullest capacity. 


Chronic asthma - In chronic asthma, obstruction of the flow in the air is caused due to the inflammation of the airways and spasm of muscles surrounding the airways. This inflammation also causes thickening of the walls of the airways. The inflammation can be seen in various inflammatory cells and mediators. 


Related articles: Risks and Signs of Lung Cancer 


*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images


 

 

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