Essay about Chronic Diseases

Submitted By Bandityuki
Words: 1390
Pages: 6

Chronic Diseases Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Parkinson’s disease are two of many chronic diseases that many Americans suffer with today. Did you know, according to "Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)" (2013), “COPD was the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2011” (Who has COPD?)? It effects 12-16 million people in the United States annually and according to “Statistics on Parkinson’s” (2013), “Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s each year and an estimated 10 Million people world-wide are living with Parkinson’s Disease.” Gender, age, ethnicity and geographical location will be points reviewed with these diseases. While COPD can be a fatal breathing disease, chemical imbalances due to Parkinson’s reduce life’s longevity; therefore, both diseases control the physical limitations of the body of every gender. COPD is a serious lung disease that makes it extremely difficult to breathe. Parkinson’s is a neurological disorder that makes the simplest of body movements difficult. People with COPD are known to cough up mucus, experience shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness. This is caused when the airway or air sacs lose their elasticity and the walls of the air sacs are destroyed. Airways become inflamed which in turn creates more mucus than usual and clogs the air ways. ("National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute", 2012). Parkinson’s disease differs from COPD in that it affects the brain. Parkinson’s is a chronic and progressive neurological disorder that continues to worsen with time. Parkinson’s affects neurons in the brain called substantia nigra (lies in the midbrain and controls movement). When these neurons die, dopamine is produced sending messages to the brain that controls the movement and coordination. The less dopamine that is produced, the less control a person has of their body movements and suffers frequently from tremors in the legs, jaws, arms, hands and face. One can become rigid or stiff in the limbs and become unstable and lack coordination. Consequently, one can see the debilitating movements that both diseases render on the body. Both men and women are at risk of COPD and Parkinson’s. The risk of men developing COPD is10 out of 1,000 and women are 7 out of 1,000. (Charles, Britt, & Fahridin, 2010).The risk of men developing Parkinson’s is one and a half times greater than women. (Wooten, Currie, & Lee, 2004). Diagnosis is different for both diseases. COPD is diagnosed with a test called Spirometry. This is the primary test that shows how well one can breathe (inhale and exhale). To date no lab test exits that diagnoses Parkinson’s. A blood test can check the liver and thyroid for abnormal hormone levels. According to “WebMD” (2010), “Imaging tests such as Computed Tomography (CT) Scans and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can be done to check for signs of a stroke or brain tumor”. (Parkinson's Disease - Exams and Tests). One other type of scan that can be done is a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan; this can detect low levels of dopamine in the brain. Different tests can be ordered for each disease but the results may not show what is already known. Unlike Parkinson’s which is a genetic and inherited disease; COPD is not. There are some underlying medical issues that the two diseases share such as; depression, heart disease, cancer and malnourishment. COPD is not curable, but it is treatable. If caught in its early stages, a spirometry test can be done, inhaled steroids can help open the bronchial tubes, but the best cure of all is to stop smoking. Like COPD, Parkinson’s is not curable, but is treatable with medication and possible surgery called pallidotomy. Pallidotomy is where an electrical probe is placed on the brain to destroy a small area of brain cells. While both of these diseases have their own inhabitable disorders, both men and women alike are affected, for which