Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD) is a term that is used to describe ongoing lung obstruction. Somediseases that are under COPD include emphysema, refractory asthma, and chronicbronchitis. These diseases can destroy the air cells in the lungs and causeproblems with the air flowing throughout the lungs. This condition isillustrated by the patient loosing his or her breath and coughing so muchbecause it is very difficult for him/her to breath. Symptoms of COPD includethe production of sputum, coughing, and severe difficultly in breathing.
According to the World Health Organization, the 4th leading cause ofdeath worldwide in 2006 was from COPD. Themost important risk factor for COPD is smoking cigarettes. When a person smokescigarettes, their lungs become inflamed, causing less oxygen to reach theirlungs and difficulty for the patient to breath. The use of pipes, cigar, andant tobacco products is a risk factor for COPD since it will cause the lungs tobecome inflamed.
Other risk factors are being around chemicals and dustparticles at work, lung infections that are recurrent, and low birth weight.The patient should be protected at the workplace if he/she works outside withthese toxic particles by wearing a mask over their face. COPDis described as chronic inflammation of the lung tissues and airways. Since theinflammation causes decreased oxygen flow to the tissues (hypoxia), the patientwill experience breathing problems, which causes them to cough and have mucusproduction. Symptoms from the different lung diseases include barrel chest,cyanosis, and clubbing. Since the airways are already inflamed, there is nocure to the disease.
There are only ways to help the symptoms so the diseasedoes not cause any complications. If the person continues to be near theseirritants, they will become fatigue and it can be very dangerous. Since theyare working so hard to breath and get oxygen in their lungs, they might one daybe unable to get oxygen which will result in death. There are many different classes ofmedications are used to alleviate the symptoms, but they have not been provento reduce the long-term weakening of the lungs functions. To alleviate thesymptoms, the patients may be given beta-adrenergic agonists, anticholinergics,corticosteroids, or methylxanthines.
The purpose of these medications is todilate the bronchioles to relieve bronchospasm, reduce obstruction in theairways, and to improve the alveolar ventilation. Oxygen delivery is alsoconsidered a prescription therapy that might help the patient since the patientis lacking oxygen because his/her lungs are inflamed. In advanced COPD, oxygendelivery for more than 15 hours a day has been shown to increase the quality oflife and endurance.
Whenthe patient is getting discharged, the patient and family members should beeducated on how to relieve the symptoms and manage the patients breathingissue. Some ways to educate the patient and family members is by telling themto avoid drastic weather changes and extreme temperatures of hot and cold.Another way is by avoiding environmental and occupational nuisances such aschemicals and dust particles. They should also be taught how to use therespiratory devices and how to correctly use the oxygen delivery systems. I have a patient who has historyof COPD due to long-term smoking for 25 years.
As pharmacotherapy, she has beenprescribed albuterol 2.5mg and ipratropium bromide. During discharge, thepatient and family members were educated on smoking cessation and how to manageher COPD.Summary COPD ischaracterized as the patient having a hard time breathing that cannot bereversed.
Once the patient starts smoking, their lungs become inflamed and itbecomes hard for oxygen to reach the lungs. There are several ways to relievethe symptoms such as oxygen delivery and medications. The patient and familymembers should be educated on avoiding irritants and tobacco products that candeteriorate the patients breathing.