COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Chronic means long-term. Obstructive refers to blockage in the airways of the lung. Pulmonary refers to the lungs.
The most common obstructive lung diseases are: chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, bronchiectasis, and cystic fibrosis. The main symptoms are shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing or too much mucus in the lungs. You may have one or more of these symptoms.
Control is the objective for maintaining a quality life. This includes smoking cessation, medications, exercise, breathing retraining and maintaining a healthy weight. Pulmonary rehabilitation may help you achieve these objectives. Talk to your Doctor about this program.
Emphysema is a disease which destroys the air sacs, though is causes airway blockage, too. With this disease the transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide is impaired. It takes extra pressure to exhale. More mucus is trapped in the lungs, making you more prone to infection. Shortness of breath and coughing increase, and over time the lungs and even the heart may become enlarged. Not smoking and avoiding other irritants will help slow the progress of the disease. Emphysema has no cure, but medications and breathing exercises help you be as active as possible.
If you have asthma, your airways are inflamed and much more sensitive than normal. You may have allergies to such things as: pollen, animals, dust mites, mold, and certain drugs. When you inhale allergens or irritants, the linings of the bronchioles in your lungs swell, become inflamed and make excess mucus. The muscles in the walls of these airways go into spasm and clamp down on the airways. You wheeze and feel short of breath. Treatment for asthma is: avoid the allergens, drink lots of fluids, monitor peak flow readings ( a meter that is prescribed for home use), and take the prescribed anti-inflammatory and bronchodilating drugs.