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Chroni Airways - Essay Example

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Instructor University Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease General Background What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease? Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is not a single entity but refers to a group of diseases that irreversibly limit the airflow to the lungs…
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Download file to see previous pages Most of these modifications are at grossly structural as well as cellular levels. History and Epidemiology It is estimated that about 216 million people around the globe suffer from this condition (Fletcher et al 2011, p. 2). COPD affects more than 16 million people in the United States alone, where it is the fourth leading cause of death. Currently it is the sixth most common cause of death worldwide, but, according to estimations by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD), it is expected to rise to the third most common cause of death by 2020. (Kasper & Harrison 2005, p. 1547). According to a statistical study in the UK, about 81,500 patients aged above 65 years died of COPD during the period 1990-1992. (Yohannes & Connollyl 2001, p. 99). The incidence rate of this disease is on the rise due to increased exposure to the associated risk factors. Also, improved health care facilities in developed countries have elevated average life expectancies increasing the likelihood of elderly patients acquiring COPD. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the annual loss of productivity due to COPD is about 27,700 years. COPD is considered to be among the diseases of old age, but about 50% of patients with COPD are under the age of 65. Therefore the disease can have a severe economic impact as it adds to the global disease burden. (Fletcher et al 2011, p. 2). Classification COPD as a group of disorders includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis and small airways disease. These pathologies add up to a common outcome; chronic airflow obstruction. If these disorders are present, but have not resulted in airflow obstruction, they cannot be considered as COPD. Understanding the associated diseases, however, can help in dissecting the complex pathophysiology of COPD. Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis Emphysema is an anatomically defined disease condition in which the expanding abilities of lung alveoli are reduced leading to retention of air and decreased expiratory flow volume. Chronic bronchitis is characterised by mucus or phlegm production associated with severe cough. Unlike emphysema, chronic bronchitis leads to a mechanical obstruction of the airway. Small airways disease is a condition in which the lumens of small bronchioles are narrowed leading to mechanical obstruction similar to chronic bronchitis. (Kasper & Harrison 2005, p 1547). A patient suffering from COPD can show a range of these disease pathologies, and most of the time they overlap. The reduction in FEV1/FEV ratio, discussed later, is the most important indicator of COPD severity. Therefore, based on the percentage of predicted FEV1, COPD can be classified as mild, moderate, severe or very severe. However, there are two different sets of values given to each classification, depending on whether the British or American system is followed. (Wood, Tan & Stockley 2009, p. 2). Pathophysiology and Pathogenesis Risk Factors There are numerous risk factors that are very closely associated with the development of COPD. An overview of these is crucial to further understand the pathophysiology of this disease. Cigarette Smoking Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor in the development of COPD. Forced expiratory volume in the first second falls with progressive age at the rate of 20-30 ml in non smokers during their adult life. However, the rate of decline can ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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