Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Words: 843
Pages: 4

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a disease that affects the lungs and it is a very difficult, varied, and widespread disorder in a progressively aging population. COPD includes the conditions of emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Often, people with emphysema also have chronic bronchitis at the same time (Ignatavicius & Workman, 2013).
In the early stages of COPD, many of the symptoms can be unnoticeable, but as progression of the condition occurs, the symptoms usually begin to worsen. COPD has many clinical manifestations such as dyspnea, fatigue, anxiety, chronic cough, and sputum production. However, the most common early symptom of COPD is exertional dyspnea. The severity of these symptoms often depend on how much lung damage
…show more content…
Smoking is the leading cause or contributing factor that produces inflammation in the lungs of COPD patients. Smoking also damages the air way and the lining of the lungs. When the lungs are injured, air has trouble moving in and out of the lungs. This makes it extremely difficult for a person to breath.
Many patients with COPD experience episodes of exacerbations. When a patient’s breathing appears more difficult than usual and they become ill, it is an indication that exacerbations are prevalent and the worsening of COPD systems is evident. Exacerbation episodes are usually caused by viral or bacterial infections. People who have severe allergies or inhale irritating substances from the environment are more likely to trigger exacerbations of COPD.
During an episode of exacerbation, one’s coughing may become more severe, strenuous, and persistent. The volume of sputum may increase and the color of the sputum may change from whitish to yellow or green. There may even be specks of blood mixed in infected, pus-filled purulent sputum (MacIntyre & Huang, 2008). As a patient experiences more episodes of exacerbations, the lung function decreases and causes a reduction in physical activity and a poor quality of
…show more content…
The human body requires the presence of a constant supply of oxygen to carry out basic bodily functions. In the manifestation of COPD, there is a respiratory change as a result of the obstruction of airflow and fatigue. These changes cause patients to have a rapid, shallow breathing pattern which, in turn, causes a poor oxygen- carbon dioxide gas exchange. A patient with COPD has poor gas exchange which can lead to poor oxygenation and increased carbon dioxide levels, causing hypoxemia. Hypoxemia leads to a reduction of cellular function. Hypoxemia can cause cardiac dysrhythmia due to a decreased oxygen flow to the heart muscle. Hypoxemia patients usually have a cough that produces a lot of mucus. This increase in mucus production, along with poor oxygenation, can lead to a respiratory infection and induce more bronchospasm. This causes airflow to be more limited which makes breathing even more difficult. A poor gas exchange can lead to life-threatening conditions that could ultimately lead to heart