COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) / pulmonary emphysema.
In Germany 10 - 15 percent of the adult population suffer from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Worldwide COPD with or without pulmonary emphysema is the fourth most common cause of death. Over the next decades a further increase is even expected. In Germany alone COPD causes 25 million working days to be lost every year because of illness.
How are a simple chronic bronchitis and a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) differentiated?
Simple chronic bronchitis A patient has simple chronic bronchitis if within two successive years and over a period of at least three months in succession he has symptoms of a productive cough with sputum. COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) With COPD (from the English "chronic obstructive pulmonary disease" - German 'chronisch obstruktive Lungenerkrankung) lung function changes also manifest themselves: Also the narrowing of the airways cannot be completely resolved by treatment with medication. In the case of COPD an inflammatory response is found in the bronchia, which has been triggered by particles and gases, and where primarily cigarette smoke has to be considered as a possible causative factor. COPD affects not only the lungs but also has an effect on other organ systems such as the cardiovascular system, the muscles, skeleton, the mind and metabolism. These effects again influence the degree of severity of the disease.
What are the symptoms of COPD?
The progression of COPD is characterised by:
- Increasing deterioration in lung function.
- The patient loses more and more performance capability and quality of life. It has an increasingly negative effect on the patient's well-being.
A COPD can be associated with pulmonary emphysema or without it.
A COPD can be associated with pulmonary emphysema or without it. With emphysema there is hyperinflation and destruction of the pulmonary alveoli. Because of the destruction of the pulmonary alveoli the exchange of gases, i.e. the uptake of oxygen into the blood and the release of carbon dioxide is destroyed. In addition the elasticity of the lung is considerably reduced. It is especially important when diagnosing COPD to differentiate it from bronchial asthma, since the causes, treatment and also the course of the illnesses for both clinical pictures are very different.