What are the treatments for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)?
Emphysema is an abnormal, permanent enlargement of the air spaces (alveoli) located at the end of the breathing passages of the lungs (terminal bronchioles). Emphysema also destroys the walls of these air spaces and the attachments to airways. This allows for more deformation of the airways by increasing their ability to collapse. This collapse contributes to the inability of the lungs to empty air, hence resulting in air trapping. There are three types of emphysema:
- centriacinar emphysema,
- panacinar emphysema, and
- distal acinar emphysema or paraseptal emphysema.
Asthma Asthma is a chronic lung disorder that has recurring problems of partial airway obstruction that is usually triggered by stimuli such as allergens or rapid changes in air temperature; patients may wheeze, have labored breathing, cough and feel as though their chest is constriction. When asthmatics are not having an attack their lung function is normal. When airway obstruction becomes fixed, asthma is then considered a form of COPD. COPD Statistics In the United States, approximately 14.2 million people have been diagnosed with COPD, 12.5 million people have chronic bronchitis, and 1.7 million people have emphysema. It is estimated that there may be an additional equal number of US citizens that have COPD, but who have not been diagnosed with the disorder. The number of people with COPD has increased by 41.5% since 1982.
- An estimated 8% to 17% American men and 10% to 19% American women suffer from chronic airway obstruction. This obstruction decreases the rate of airflow through the lungs when a person exhales (breathes out). During the last decade, COPD has increased in women by 30%.
- According to a 1985 study, death rates from COPD for patients aged 55 to 84 years were 200 per 100,000 men and 80 per 100,000 women in the United States. Although men had a higher death rate than women, the mortality rate due to COPD in women is expected to increase.
Worldwide data are sparse. However, because more than 1.2 billion people are exposed to smoking, the number of persons with COPD is probably quite high.