COPD and lung function

Health Kravity August 8, 2016 0 0
The pulmonary disease COPD is a chronic lung disease, with the main complaints shortness of breath, coughing, and the production of mucus. In the Netherlands, around 360,000 people this condition. Worldwide, COPD is high on the list of diseases that people die. Because of the seriousness of this disease, it is important to avoid as much as possible the onset of COPD and to reduce the decline in lung function.
Bronchi and alveoli

What is COPD

COPD is the umbrella term for chronic respiratory diseases, in which breathing is obstructed and a loss of lung function has occurred. This is the operation of the respiratory system, especially through its organ of the lungs is very important. Inhaled air passes through the air passages to the alveoli where the oxygen removed from the air and is transported to the blood. The oxygenated blood supplies the organs with oxygen. Waste is disposed of through the blood to the lungs from the body. Conditions that are covered by COPD:
Chronic bronchitis
In chronic bronchitis, there is a persistent inflammation of the bronchi. The branches of the bronchial tubes, the trachea to the lungs. The inflammation is continuously mixed with mucus cough and respiratory problems as a result. Also, the lining of the bronchi by inflammation becomes thicker, causing additional anxiety symptoms occur.
There has been a deterioration of the alveoli in the lungs. Alveoli ensure that oxygen is absorbed from the lungs into the blood. When a reduction in the number of alveoli less oxygen can be absorbed into the blood, causing anxiety symptoms occur.

Causes of COPD

COPD is in about 80 to 90 percent of cases caused by smoking or passive smoking. Prolonged exposure to irritating factors cause an inflammatory reaction in the lungs and destruction of lung tissue. Smoking makes symptoms worse and the disease develops quickly. Even after quitting smoking COPD may still occur because of the damage that occurred earlier in the lungs.
Other Causes
  • Air pollution and poor ventilation
  • Occupational exposure to dust for example, adhesives, poisons, paint fumes
  • Lung diseases such as asthma or pneumonia
  • Genetic diseases

Diet and the development of COPD
In February 2015, a team of French and American researchers published an interesting study on the influence of diet on the development of COPD. From a comparative examination of the data of 120,000 people, it has been found that the power supply also has an impact on the health of the lungs. Persons especially whole grains, polyunsaturated fatty acids, nuts, and omega-3 fats and ate little red or processed meat, refined grains and sugary drinks have developed COPD used less often than average.


In the early stages of COPD are mild complaints to the fore, such as coughing, phlegm and breathlessness on exertion specify. Often the first symptoms begin around the age of 45 years with cough, often ?? mornings when getting up. In subsequent years, the cough and sputum remain unchanged until the age of 60 to 70 years. Then, there will be an increase in the complaints, especially if even then there is smoke.
Later symptoms
As the condition progresses, the complaints, and will lead to increased shortness of breath on exertion. The cough becomes more severe, as well as give up the mucus. In some cases, a lung infection with an extra increase in symptoms as a result. Initially walking outdoors restricted, later will also run in the home are limited. At a later stage leads slight exertion such as talking or dressing to severe dyspnea. Climbing stairs is no longer possible.


To diagnose COPD find some place to examine lung function. The doctor will discuss the existing problems, especially if there is coughing, weight loss and shortness of breath. Other conditions, such as heart problems, play an important role in the detection of COPD. Optionally, may be an x-ray of the lungs, physical examination, blood tests and a measurement of blood oxygen. An important tool to determine the spirometry assessment COPD.
Spirometry testing
Spirometry testing can be done in general practice by a qualified physician assistant. During the examination is measured, inter alia, the amount of air can be exhaled in one second. This value is compared with the expected airway capacity based on age and gender.
Pulmonary function and GOLD classification
Once the investigations have been conducted, a breakdown by the GOLD classification can be determined. The GOLD classification is an international classification, in which the reduction is expressed in lung function. In addition to the decreased lung function will often be other symptoms.

COPD Treatment

If the lung function is affected by COPD, then restore the lost lung function is no longer possible. Even in healthy people, the lung function goes from age 30 backward in COPD for this finding, however, faster. By the application of a proper medical treatment, and self-management of the decline in lung function can often be slowed down.
The treatment of COPD by the general practitioner or specialist comprises a plurality of steps, depending on the severity of the condition at that time. The treatment that the symptoms are reduced or alleviated as much as possible are:
  • Non-drug advice: exercise, quit smoking, achieve a healthy weight.
  • Advice to avoid as many other irritants.
  • A self-management program startup, in collaboration with the GP Practice assistant.
  • Referral to physiotherapy for movement and breathing exercises.
  • Possible use of pulmonary rehabilitation to accept the complaints and constraints and to improve the condition.
  • Administering annual influenza vaccination.
  • Prescription medications such as bronchodilators, corticosteroids and antibiotics.
  • In a later phase can provide supplemental oxygen for some relief from the symptoms.

In a self-management are a number of topics, bringing more knowledge and recognition of symptoms occurs. Some issues in many self-management ?? s covered are: information about COPD, dealing with everyday problems, adapt lifestyle, correct medication use and react to a change or increase in symptoms. Attempts to reduce the severity of symptoms and hospital admissions because of an acute attack. Since being handled in a more active manner occurs with COPD and lifestyle modification, positive effects are experienced in respect of the restrictions, condition and muscle mass.


The prognosis for the milder forms of COPD is relatively favorable, if we stop smoking. Lung function will then remain fairly stable and the few complaints will increase over the years.
If there is a moderate to severe COPD there is a poor prognosis, with a high risk of death. The complications that cause COPD often occur at an increased risk of death. Research from the Universities of Ghent and Rotterdam showed that the risk of sudden cardiac death three times higher than in people who do not have a prolonged and severe COPD. Especially people who have more than 5 years of the diagnosis of COPD with frequent exacerbations are at increased risk. Explanation for the increase in sudden cardiac death in this group may be caused by chronic oxygen deficiency, whereby the structure of the heart and blood vessel changes.
This abridged life there is in the years of severe COPD talk of significant constraints and a great loss of quality of life. For this reason, the maintenance of a good lung function of vital importance.