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.

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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.


It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.

These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Heinrichs

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Poetry On Odyssey: A "Break" At Work

Breaks at work aren't always what you think.


There are times during work where the stars align, and I'm right in their sights to get supremely screwed over. If things get slow and quiet enough, and I've just finished something I've been focusing all of my energy on, something...happens.

I break.

I don't know if I would call it a panic attack, since it's less fear of dying and more sudden hyper-awareness and inability to deal with anything, but it sucks all the same. It completely swallows me into a dark pit of brokenness.

One of the things I do to try grounding myself is messaging those close to me. I structured this poem similar to what one of those conversations was like. During all of the edits, I decided to keep it mostly short and disconnected because that's exactly how I feel during these moments—disconnected and unable to keep a coherent thought.

I hope you never have to experience something like this; I hope this poem gives all you need to know about what these "breaks" are like.

Break at work, everything to think about
Chores, writing, apartment
Chores, writing, apartment

Can't do any of it
Can't move
Can't hear


Panic attack?
Don't know
Not good

Bathroom? Fresh air?
Not possible
Can't move

Bra too tight

Deep breath anyway
Ignore the constricting
Actually focus on it

Cold and hurts
Drink more anyway

Can't eat anyway

What do?
Don't know
Can't think

Can't do
At work

Nails in palms, eyes shut tight
Focus on breathing exercises
Focus on chest pain


Deep breath in
Hold it
Slow breath out

Ignore how it stabs
Ignore the tightness
Focus on the rhythm


Keep eyes shut
Until breathing
Is stable

Open eyes
Blink because it's bright
Inhale, exhale, breathe

Hear the quiet of work
Everyone doing their own thing
Oblivious to what just happened

See the sharpness of screen
Blink it into focus to see
Everything I have accomplished

Drink some more water
It's necessary, it's good
Not cold, not hurting, just soothing


Breathe in relief, it's over now
The world has returned
To what it ought to be

Whatever it was
That break
Was not a break.

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