Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

1212897_58860461COPD, which stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a type of lung disease which inhibits your breathing abilities. This includes the diseases chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Ultimately, the disease worsens over time, making it progressively harder for you to breathe in a normal manner. Symptoms of COPD include:

  • coughing with a lot of mucus
  • wheezing
  • shortness of breath
  • tightness in the chest

As COPD develops, less air is able to flow in and out of the airways of your lungs because of a loss of elasticity, destruction or hardening of the walls in between them, or an abnormal abundance of mucus. Unfortunately, the major cause of COPD is smoking. Other causes of COPD include:

  • secondhand smoke
  • air pollution
  • chemical fumes
  • dust
  • genetics

There is no cure for COPD, as scientists are uncertain on how to reverse the damage done to the lung. There are a number of treatments, however, that can provide a better quality of life. Your nurse will help you manage the lifestyle changes that accompany a COPD diagnosis. The biggest step you must first take is to stop smoking. Additionally, follow a balanced diet to keep your body healthy. Your nurse will also assist you with any medications you have been prescribed by your doctor to manage the disease.  He or she may also:

  • manage your oxygen therapy
  • administer a flu shot to protect your lungs from infection
  • perform lung surgery after-care
  • teach you how to recognize changes in your symptoms

If required, a therapist will implement an exercise regimen to build your pulmonary system and keep you active.

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