Cardiac and Pulmonary Disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, commonly referred to as a pulmonary disease, is a group of progressive lung diseases. The most common are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Many people with COPD have both of these conditions.
Emphysema slowly destroys air sacs in your lungs, which interferes with outward airflow. Bronchitis causes inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes, which allows mucus to build up.
The top cause of COPD is tobacco smoking. Long-term exposure to chemical irritants can also lead to COPD. It’s a disease that usually takes a long time to develop.
Diagnosis usually involves imaging tests, blood tests, and lung function tests.
There’s no cure for COPD, but treatment can help ease symptoms, lower the chance of complications, and generally improve quality of life. Medications, supplemental oxygen therapy, and surgery are some forms of treatment.
Untreated, COPD can lead to a faster progression of the disease, heart problems, and worsening respiratory infections.
It’s estimated that about 30 million people in the United States have COPD. As many as half are unaware that they have it.
Causes of Pulmonary Disease
The main cause of COPD in developed countries is tobacco smoking. In the developing world, COPD often occurs in people exposed to fumes from burning fuel for cooking and heating in poorly ventilated homes.
Only some chronic smokers develop clinically apparent COPD, although many smokers with long smoking histories may develop reduced lung function. Some smokers develop less common lung conditions. They may be misdiagnosed as having COPD until a more thorough evaluation is performed.
Symptoms of Pulmonary Disease
COPD symptoms often don't appear until significant lung damage has occurred, and they usually worsen over time, particularly if smoking exposure continues.
Signs and symptoms of COPD may include:
- Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities
- Chest tightness
- A chronic cough that may produce mucus (sputum) that may be clear, white, yellow, or greenish
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Lack of energy
- Unintended weight loss (in later stages)
- Swelling in ankles, feet, or legs
People with COPD are also likely to experience episodes called exacerbations, during which their symptoms become worse than the usual day-to-day variation and persist for at least several days.
Treatment of Pulmonary Disorder
Stem cells are the mother cells that are responsible for developing an entire human body from a tiny two-celled embryo; due to their unlimited divisions and strong power to differentiate into all the cells of different lineage. This power of stem cells has been harnessed by the technology to isolate them outside the human body, concentrate on the clean environment, and implant back.
Stem cells have the unique ability to change into any cell in the body, called differentiation. They can be administered intravenously and find damaged tissues around organs. When used in regards to COPD patients, stem cells can repair damaged lung tissue to combat emphysema or chronic bronchitis.