Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Essay

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Essay

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease  (COPD) is a medical condition that reduces airflow in the lungs of a person due to the increase in mucus secretion that was caused by continuous exposure to a number of irritants, for example, tobacco smoke. It is worth mentioning that given the widely spread habit of smoking as well as general high level of air pollution in the world, this medical condition should be seen as one that can place lives of numerous people at risks. Since there is no cure for it, the doctors are expected to be able to diagnose it as soon as possible in order to provide appropriate management that would decrease the severity of the symptoms.Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Essay

The medical condition in question that is characterized by the obstruction of airways (Hogg et al. 2004). It happens due to the increased amount of mucus which is produced by bronchial mucinous glands. Under normal conditions, the latter produce mucus in the amount that is sufficient and does not blow the airways. However, if the bronchial mucinous glands are exposed to various irritants, they start producing more mucus than needed. Given the small size of airways, any increase in the amount of mucus will result in their partial obstruction. Eventually, the capacity of lungs will be reduced due to the fact that some air has been trapped.

The major way in which the changes which were mentioned above are manifested is the changed ratio of Forced Expiratory volume in 1 (FEV1) to Forced Vital Capacity (FVC). This is manifested as shortness of breath (Gan, Man, Senthilselvan, & Sin, 2004). Thus, both FEV1 and FVC are decreased if compared to a normal person; however, FEV1 is decreased even more which means that a person has a difficulty breathing the air out. Another important manifestation to be mentioned is a productive cough. Since the amount of mucus was increased, the airways have to be cleared by extensive coughing as conventional mechanisms are not useful.

It is rather obvious that since the medical condition in question is localized in the lungs, then the respiratory system is affected the most. Indeed, bronchi represent the part of the lungs that is the most affected by the changes which were brought up by the irritants (Eisner, Balmes, Katz, Trupin, Yelin, & Blanc, 2005). In addition to that, there is also a possibility that harmful bacteria will colonize behind the mucus plugging. However, the circulatory system is also affected due to the increased amount of carbon dioxide and the decreased amount of oxygen trapped in blood. Finally, one should not forget about cor pulmonale which is the enlargement of the right ventricle of hearing which can trigger a failure. Other than that, the overall quality of life is affected due to a decrease of one’s potential to perform activities.Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Essay

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The most reliable way to diagnose COPD is to run a series of specialized tests. However, it is highly recommended that before that a patient should meet the following criteria: be at least 35 years of age, have a productive cough that lasts more than three months at least for the past two years, and a history of exposure to various risks factors such as tobacco smoking or working in dusty environment. The test that is ordered first of all is spirometry (Rabe, Hurd, Anzueto, Barnes, Buist, Calverley, & Zielinski, 2007). It is performed to determine the ratio of FEV1 to FVC. Sometimes the severity of the disease can be measured indirectly based on the observations of the perceived difficulty associated with performing certain ordinary tasks. X-ray screening, as well as complete blood count, can help in diagnosing as well.

Speaking of the symptoms, productive cough is the first and major symptom of COPD. As has been mentioned, it should persist for at least three months every year for a minimum of three years. The amount of sputum can vary significantly. Shortness of breath is the second common symptom. It worsens over time and when physical activities are performed. Sometimes it can even occur when a person is resting.

As for the treatment of the condition, one should note that there is no cure for it. It is generally agreed that management primarily focuses on minimizing the negative impact of symptoms and improving, even slightly, the quality of life of a person. The most common recommendation is reducing exposure to risk factors, which often involved cessation of smoking and reducing the pollution of the environment where a person lives. It is sometimes suggested that a person will perform noninvasive ventilation in order to support breathing. However, it does not have a significant impact on one’s quality of life. The same can be said about the use of bronchodilators and corticosteroids. In some cases, lung transplantation may be helpful.Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Essay

The medical condition in question is chronic which means that it persists over a considerable period of time. It is generally expected that once a person develops it, the condition will become worse over time. Nevertheless, one should note that there is always a possibility of exacerbation of symptoms which requires additional medical attention. Under those circumstances, the doctors are expected to reduce the severity of the symptoms with any tool that proves to be effective even if it was not used before. Nevertheless, in the majority of the cases, the condition does not become acute if a person reduces the impact on risk factors.

It may be rather difficult to answer whether the medical condition in question is more chronic than fatal. It is obvious that the development of COPD does not threaten one’s life directly. Nevertheless, its existence is closely connected to the reduction of lifespan and is often responsible for the death because of the complications. Therefore, while it would not be completely correct to call it fatal since it does not endanger one’s life per se, there is not doubt that its chronic nature increases the chances of early death.

If one considers the latest findings in the area, one might point out that stem cell research is largely considered to be the most perspective. For example, Inamdar and Inamdar (2013) showed that there is a great potential of this technology to combat pathogenesis of lungs. Therefore, the researchers hope that one day it will be possible to develop a treatment that would affect the very cause of the medical condition in question. Nevertheless, more research is needed to produce meaningful results. Another line of exploration focuses on various anti-inflammatory medications as well as long-acting agents. All this means that there is a high chance that the medical science will develop a treatment that will help the patients more and even cures them. However, as of now, this is nothing by a too optimistic prognosis.

Having examined all the points that were mentioned in the paragraphs above is able to come to the conclusion that COPD is a medical condition that is developed because of the obstruction of airways. This is caused by the increased amount of mucus produced because of the exposure to some irritating substances, particularly tobacco smoke and dust. While this disease primarily affects the organs of the respiratory system, it also can have a negative impact on another system, particularly circulatory, as well as an organism in general. The most common symptoms are a productive cough that lasts for a considerable period of time and shortness of breath.Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Essay

References

Eisner, M. D., Balmes, J., Katz, P. P., Trupin, L., Yelin, E. H., & Blanc, P. D. (2005). Lifetime environmental tobacco smoke exposure and the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Environmental Health, 4(1), 7-14

Gan, W. Q., Man, S. F. P., Senthilselvan, A., & Sin, D. D. (2004). Association between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and systemic inflammation: a systematic review and a meta-analysis. Thorax, 59(7), 574-580.

Hogg, J. C., Chu, F., Utokaparch, S., Woods, R., Elliott, W. M., Buzatu, L., & Paré, P. D. (2004). The nature of small-airway obstruction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 350(26), 2645-2653.

Inamdar, A. C., & Inamdar, A. A. (2013). Mesenchymal stem cell therapy in lung disorders: Pathogenesis of lung diseases and mechanism of action of mesenchymal stem cell. Experimental Lung Research, 39(8), 315-327. doi:10.3109/01902148.2013.816803

Rabe, K. F., Hurd, S., Anzueto, A., Barnes, P. J., Buist, S. A., Calverley, P. & Zielinski, J. (2007). Global strategy for the diagnosis, management, and prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: GOLD executive summary. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine, 176(6), 532-555.Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Essay

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