27 March 2016 thumb COPD Pathophysiology: Understanding the Progression of This Disease

Chronic pulmonary obstructive disease is comprised of airway inflammation, consequent airway structural changes and mucociliary dysfunction. This disease is characterized by inflammation of the airways on a chronic basis. The COPD pathophysiology will involve inhaled irritants that cause inflammatory cells such as macrophages, B cells and neutrophils to accumulate. When these cells are activated they will initiate an inflammatory cascade which will trigger the release of such inflammatory mediators as tumor necrosis factor alpha and C-reactive protein. These mediators will sustain the inflammatory process and result in tissue damage, in addition to a number of systemic effects. Chronic inflammation is at hand from the outset of COPD and will lead to a number of structural changes in the lungs which in turn will further affect airflow limitation.

How The Lungs are Effected by COPD

There are three factors that will contribute to the narrowing of the airways. These three factors involve the multiplication of epithelial cells that line the airways, the build-up of scar tissue due to the damage caused to the airways and peri-bronchial fibrosis.

The term parenchymal destruction is associated with the lack of elasticity of the lungs, which can occur as a direct result of the ruination of the structures that support and feed the alveoli. This will mean that small airways will collapse when a person exhales and trap the air in the lungs which will reduce a person’s lung capacity.

The inflammation that occurs in the lungs will cause the mucus glands that line the walls of a lung to become enlarged that in blue bloater, which will result in the healthy cells being replaced by cells that are mucus secreting. This disease will also cause damage to the mucociliary transport. The mucociliary transport is responsible for removing any mucus from the airways in the lungs. These issues will contribute to excessive mucus in the lungs. This build-up of mucus will block and worsen the amount of airflow a person receives.

What are the Common Symptoms?

People suffering from this disease will display a range of symptoms that will lead to a diagnosis. A chronic cough is typically the first symptom. The cough will also be associated with mucus as a result of the damaged airways that generate an abnormal amount of mucus.

Patients will typically become concerned once they have developed wheezing or frequent shortness of breath. This is often very distressing and can prevent them from performing normal everyday tasks.

Patients that are suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are more vulnerable to exacerbations or chest infections and can also experience additional breathlessness, wheezing and discolored mucus. Other symptoms for COPD will involve severe fatigue, weight loss, edema, depression and chest pain. This disease is often diagnosed by performing a simple breathing test known as an expiratory test. During the test the physician will also be able to determine what stage of COPD you’re in.

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