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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a common result of long term smoking. If you smoke, just plan on getting COPD. It's just one of the many choices smokers make unwittingly when they light up that pack of cigarettes during their routine day. Let me try to briefly explain what COPD is for those without a healthcare background. Essentially COPD, or emphysema, is the destruction of your little air sacs, known as alveoli. The airways also become rather loose and will constrict upon breathing out. This traps air in the lungs, which eventually leads to poorer gas exchange with the blood. So your lungs basically become less and less efficient at their job, which is to get the good air in and the bad air out. This isn't the COPD 101 definition, but it will do for our purposes today. So what are the symptoms of COPD? Lets list a few of them here. 1. Shortness of breath. That feeling where you just can't seem to get enough air in and suffocation becomes a very real concern. No matter what you do, the breath just doesn't seem deep enough nor does it come fast enough. 2. Chronic cough. You just get that little tickle in the back of your throat, so you cough and cough, hoping to get a some relief. Right when you think you've got it licked, it shows up again for another round. The cough never seems to go away for very long. 3. Increased mucous production. This is called phlegm. We naturally remove gobs of mucous out of our lungs everyday without realizing it. However, the mechanism for mucous removal becomes weakened and then eventually killed, which means you have to work at removing the mucous now. There are little hairs in your airway, called cilia, that grab the mucous in your lungs and move it up to the back of your throat where it gets swallowed, unbeknownst to you. Smoking kills these cilia, thereby, keeping the mucociliary elevator on the bottom floor. 4. Wheezing when you breathe. Because the muscles in your airway have been damaged by smoking, they can no longer maintain the tone they used to. As a result, the airways collapse, constrict or narrow. This is called bronchospasm. Now, you're breathing through what seems like a tiny straw, which leads to more and more shortness of breath, or dyspnea. An inhaler can help dilate or open these airways, but the damage is done. The process is not reversible and will only continue to get worse. 5. Frequent respiratory infections. Because the mucous can no longer be readily removed it just kind of sits there. This makes it a wonderful home for bacteria to set up shop. It's dark, warm, and moist in your lungs. Add the mucous and it's like an extreme home makeover for these little guys. Can you hear Ty saying, "Welcome home staff infection, welcome home"?


So these are just 5 symptoms you may see as your COPD begins. The only option people have to limit their COPD is to remove what's causing it. The sooner the better, as COPD is a progressive non-reversible disease. This means the sooner you remove the cause, the less damage you will incur and the deterioration of your lungs will progress at a slower rate than if you continued to be exposed to the cause.

There are several environmental factors which can cause COPD. Exposure to biomass fuels and indoor wood burning stoves, pollution and second-hand smoke are all known causes. But the largest risk factor for developing COPD is smoking. I don't think anyone is surprised by this fact. COPD is the fourth largest health concern in the world, in terms of deaths per year. Sadly, it's rate has not declined in the last decade like the top 3 have. Smoking cessation is the best way to limit the effects of COPD. For more information on COPD symptoms and how to stop smoking, please visit our website at stopsmokinghelper.org. Tim Frymyer is a licensed respiratory therapist who is dedicated to keeping the public up to date on the latest stop smoking information.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Tim_Frymyer

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Short Article Reveals The Undeniable Facts About COPD And How It Can Affect You