C.O.P.D. stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. C.O.P.D. is often a mix of two diseases, Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema.
Chronic Bronchitis is a disease in the airways of the lungs caused by tobacco smoking or other irritants. These irritants cause redness and swelling (inflammation) in the airways of the lungs. The inflammation causes increase in mucus production, which cause the person to cough and have arrow airways. This increases the risk of lung infections.
Emphysema is the result of long-term tobacco smoking and other irritants that damage the elastic fibers of the lungs. These fibers make up the tiny air sacs (Alveoli). The Alveoli is where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide occurs. These air sacs permanently lose their elasticity and the airs sacs are destroyed. They cannot be replaced. The smaller airways in the lungs (bronchioles) tend to collapse when you breathe out, trapping air in the Alveoli. This results in the oxygen-rich air having trouble entering the air sacs and carbon dioxide has trouble getting out of the lungs. This is what causes shortness of breath and coughing.
There are numerous symptoms of C.O.P.D. The symptoms vary on what stage of C.O.P.D. you are currently experiencing. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to:
- Chronic cough producing mucus
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Fluid building up in legs and feet
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Cyanosis (skin turns blue especially in lips, fingers, and toes)