Natural Health Nexis
This nhn COPD Guide includes information about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease that is written primarily to help COPD Patients better understand their condition and the range of COPD treatment options that are currently available:
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) has been the subject of many studies, and although it is generally agreed that the disease is caused in response to inhaled irritants, the various complex pathophysiological mechanisms by which different types of inhaled irritant particles cause damage to the airways and lungs are still not fully understood.
Difficulty in breathing and other COPD Symptoms are associated with blockage and/or narrowing of the airways, damage or inflammation in the walls of the airways, secretion of excess mucus in the airways, and a resulting decrease in the surface area for gaseous exchange.
The details of COPD Pathophysiology differ between Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema:
Chronic Bronchitis Pathophysiology
Chronic Bronchitis is often linked with Exposure to an Airway Irritant or Aspiration of a Foreign Body, as well as being associated with other conditions such as Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis, and Dyskinetic Cilia Syndrome. Damage and infection of the airway tubes leads to degeneration and inflammation. Patients cough and expel more mucus than normal, either due to increased production of mucus on the airway walls, or due to the decreased clearance within the passages.
Tobacco smoke, like many other irritant particles, contains high concentration of free radicals - which may cause oxidative damage to cells within the airways that lead to the lungs, and within the alveoli inside the lungs. Induced Cytokine release associated with inflammatory response to the irritants may also contribute to cell damage. Additionally, impairment of Antiprotease , like A1AT (which would normally inhibit the action of inflammatory enzymes), may allow Protease Enzymes to inflict further cell damage within alveolar tissue.
Most COPD patients suffer from both Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema, to differing degrees.
The presence of increased mucus in restricted airways from Chronic Bronchitis causes the body to cough in order to expel excess mucus and the restriction also produces wheezing.
Reduced airflow into the lungs, and reduction of gaseous exchange within the alveoli, due to Emphysema, combine to cause pulmonary distress.
The inability to absorb enough oxygen and release enough carbon dioxide mean the COPD patient may not finish breathing out before they feel the need to breathe in. This leads to Breathlessness, which becomes especially apparent with increased activity or exercise.
In patients with advanced COPD, the effect of decreased oxygen levels and increased carbon dioxide levels often leads to other medical issues including headaches, fatigue, weight loss, muscle wasting, osteoporosis, depression, and heart failure.
More About A1AT Deficiency & Emphysema Pathophysiology
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