Every Breath I Take: Understanding COPD

Every Breath I Take: Understanding COPD

Learn about the pathophysiology of COPD, its causes and symptoms

The pathophysiology of COPD is the understanding of the structural changes that occur in the body as a result of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The complexity of COPD and its nature of prolonged existence without detection as well as the difficulty in defining this condition precisely necessitates this study and offers an insight into the pathophysiology of COPD. For those who are suffering from this disease, knowing what changes to observe may help you in seeking treatment at the right time. Thanks to the ever-increasing number of COPD patients, COPD pathophysiology may be helpful in tracing COPD signs and symptoms. This way, we can effectively manage this condition.

We would be very wrong if we relied entirely on the doctors to enlighten us on what steps we need to take to manage COPD. We have a significant role to play as far as managing this disease is concerned. COPD occurs in four different stages – each of which is characterized by specific changes in the body. Pathophysiology of COPD is therefore important in helping us understand what to observe at each stage. This will, in turn, help us manage the situation and prevent further spread. Besides, this will also help us draw the line between fats and myths.

To most of us, when we are told that we are in our “end-stage COPD,” we will take this as a death sentence. The agony, confusion, and fear may be unbearable- more or so when we do not have an idea of the pathophysiology of COPD. This is precisely why we need to get the facts right! Broadly, there are four stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease depended on calculated tests – commonly known as normal predictions.

In the first stage, concerning the normal predictions, “forced expiratory volume per second” (FEV1) is about eighty percent. In this stage, the patient may not have any visible changes (symptoms) in his body. Here, the COPD is still mild.

In stage two, the FEV1 averages 65 percent of the average prediction. This is the moderate stage of COPD and changes such as coughs, shirt breaths and exertion might be seen.

Pathophysiology of COPD also helps us understand whether the inflammation has reached its third stage – severe COPD. Here, we expect to see frequent exacerbations, short breaths, and at times, extra hospitalization. The FEV1 decreases to less than 40 percent.

In the fourth stage, Fev1 is below thirty percent typically suggests that the condition has reached a very severe stage. Stage IV is often frequently referred to as the “end-stage.”

Pathophysiology of COPD is not a bed of roses as it is quite hard to appreciate. It is meant to exhibit the structural changes in the airways, dysfunctions of the cilia and the responses to the inflammatory. All these are responsible for blocking the airways of the lungs. Excessive smoking as well as over inhalation of lung irritants such as pollens, contaminated air, smoke, dust and a variety of other lung-damaging chemicals; leads to responses of COPD. This makes pathophysiology of COPD difficult.

Whereas inhalers can be used to treat some COPD symptoms such as the productive coughs; they may not always replicate the same results for every patient. Breathlessness and the wheezing problem might not be eased by modern medications. One of the ways to ensure that the pathophysiology of COPD is somewhat successful is to avoid altogether or stop everything that will accelerate the situation. If you are damn serious about fighting this disease, then you’ve got little or no choice other than quit smoking!

Smoking, Life Expectancy, and Pathophysiology of COPD.

Every day, close to 250 people around the world succumb to COPD complications. This is because even in 2017, there has not yet been a precise pathophysiology of COPD. As such, late-stage COPD diagnosis may sometimes be discovered too late and by the time where the situation is out of hand. Early detection is the key to success, so If the disorder is not detected early enough, the patients’ life expectancy may be significantly reduced.

Tobacco smoking is the chief cause of COPD, though there are other causative factors as well. The beauty with lungs is that they can tremendously restore their functioning capabilities but again; this will be dependent on how soon you quit smoking.

However, if COPD has advanced to the third or fourth stages, quitting smoking alone may not be enough to increase your life expectancy. It needs to be combined with other treatment methods such as oxygen therapy. Your continued smoking complicates further the pathophysiology of COPD.

Popular Right Now

Social Media Changed My Perspective On Living With Diabetes

Thank you for changing my life, Instagram.

I have been living with Diabetes for over 16 years now, and am inching closer to that 17-year mark. I have gone through many different stages in how I choose to look at living with a chronic illness. I have gone through stages of denial, anger, sadness and every other emotion you can think of.

Lately, however, I have been overcome with a sense of motivation that has absolutely changed my outlook on this horrific disease.

My motivation to take care of myself with regard to my Diabetes didn’t start until I was a freshman in college, which is something that I wholeheartedly regret. At that point in time, I was my own source of motivation to do well. I was also my own worst enemy by really getting down on myself when things didn’t go exactly how I wanted them to in terms of my blood sugar.

It wasn’t until this past summer when I came across an entire Type 1 Diabetes community online that I realized how common everything I was feeling is.

There are two main outlets that I use: Instagram and Beyond Type 1. Beyond Type 1 is a forum type of application where fellow Diabetics can share their questions, tips, struggles, successes and more.

Of these two applications, Instagram has made the largest impact on me.

I have always known that Diabetes (type 1, specifically) is not as uncommon as it feels. But, when you are living with something that takes up every ounce of your energy, you can’t help but to feel alone in the battle.

It wasn’t until I randomly came across Type 1 Diabetes focused accounts on Instagram that I started to feel like I wasn’t alone in this and that there were others out there that truly understood what I was going through, and not just people who sympathized with me.

When I saw that others were going through the same things as me, I started to feel a sense of comfort in this disease. I started to realize that everything that didn’t go my way was going to be ok.

I have been able to both give and receive advice, and I have come to realize that you truly never stop learning about the ins and outs of Diabetes.

The amount that I have learned from others is miraculous in my eyes. I have also been able to gain more insights on tricks that I can use to maintain my health and foods that are good/bad for blood sugar that I would never have considered before. I have been introduced to a whole support system that I never thought existed.

There are dangers of this, though. I find that it is easy to put yourself in comparison with others, especially those who seem to be doing better than you. Of course, this is something that has to be taken with a grain of salt because not everyone is as transparent on social media as you would hope.

I must admit, as well, that I have found myself to become even more obsessive about my blood sugars than I ever have before. It is frustrating, and it is easy to be hard on myself, but it has also led me to be the healthiest that I have ever been.

The best thing that I have taken out of all of this is the confidence in sharing this disease and being open about it in a more public manner. I have always been open about educating people on the disease, and I have never been closed off when people ask me questions about it.

I was, however, very secretive in allowing Diabetes to be something visible on me. What I mean by this is that I never liked to check my blood in public, and I never wanted people to be able to see my insulin pump.

Now, however, I proudly wear my pump in some of the most visible parts of my body and have nothing but confidence about it! So, thank you Instagram. You have truly changed my life for the better.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

5 Ways To Care For Your Allergies During Pollen Season

I'm counting down the days till summer!

It's finally here with less than a week away from Spring everyone's least (or favorite) time of the year! I don't know about you, but I'd rather just skip this entire season altogether and go straight to summer. There's nothing likable about spring for people with pollen allergies, for me it's the worst time of the year; I prefer the cold over pollen. I can't go outside without taking medication and even then I still feel sick and awful. Nothing is for certain: the only thing I'm sure of is that Spring's the worst. It hasn't even started and I already want it to be over. I hope we make it but before then if you haven't already purchased some or knew all your options for taking care of your allergies here's a few I found to be helpful for this upcoming season.

1. Taking the medication necessary to treat yourself

The best way to make sure you don't get the full effect of pollen season is to start early. I've been taking Zyrtec since the end of March. There's a variety of things you can take Claritin, Benadryl, Allegra and plenty more. Even though it fully doesn't get rid of the allergy, it definitely helps to ease the pain. It's best to take it in the morning before heading out because later the effects aren't as powerful since you would have already been exposed to the pollen. This is probably the most important step so I recommend finding the medication that works best for you.

2. Make sure to have enough tissues

You can never have enough tissues especially because you don't want to run out before pollen season ends or it'll be the end of you. Before heading out anywhere I make sure to pack a sufficient amount and on extremely high pollen count days I think it's best to stuff an entire Kleenex box in my backpack just to make it through the day. That might seem like an overreaction, but trust me, it gets so bad that you need to take precaution. With the amount of blowing you do it's best to invest in some really soft tissues and trust me you'll be thankful you did.

3. Carry nasal spray although discomforting at first works

Although it is an extra expense you have to make for your allergies, I think it makes a difference. Just like medication, it works best if you use it in the morning. Despite the fact that it is a little pricier, you don't have to go out and get the most expensive there are plenty affordable sprays that work just as well. The plus side of buying nasal spray is you don't have to carry as many tissues with you and it's easier to stuff a little spray as opposed to a whole box of kleenex. I will say this helps a lot coming from someone who is guilty of having doing this before.

4. Washing your hands is crucial

Although this seems basic (and obvious) you would be surprised sometimes without thinking you touch your face with your pollen infested hands. Before you know it, the effects start to kick in and by then it's too late. Your eyes get all swollen and red, you can stop coughing and your sneezing uncontrollably. If you're not near a bathroom the best thing to do is carry hand sanitizer and while you need to use more than you normally would it does help. After you wash your hands and face you can rub as much as you want, but I wouldn't recommend it because it will get irritated.

5. Eye drops will save you

If you have never used eye drops before definitely consider it because I know I wouldn't make it through Spring without it. Not only does it alleviate the pain of pollen but it also helps flush the pollen out of your eyes. When you first put it on, it hurts because of the pollen, but after a while, it starts to feel so soothing. Just close your eyes, lay down, and let the eye drops take their effect. With eye drops there's not a limit to how many times you can put it on but I recommend doing it in the morning and night for the best results on top of that it also helps with dry eyes. They are pretty expensive but worth the investment.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

Related Content

Facebook Comments