Definitions…… and Outlook

25 Jun

I will be adding definitions as I see fit as I write my blog.  Hopefully they will help, if you need me to define something just comment, I will define it as it applies to me.

What Is COPD?…. as defined by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary (PULL-mun-ary) disease, is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe. “Progressive” means the disease gets worse over time.  COPD can cause coughing that produces large amounts of mucus (a slimy substance), wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Most people who have COPD smoke or used to smoke. Long-term exposure to other lung irritants—such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust—also may contribute to COPD. …. This definition blames smoking, but I much prefer how my doctor has defined smoking as an influencer but not the root cause.  While I believe in and trust my Doctor completely, from the research I have done just putting this together would indicate that he grayed up the truth about smoking being a primary cause.  But I still like his definition better.

Exacerbations (ig-zas-er-BAY-shuns) are a part of COPD. I had never heard of term it until the 1st time I was put into the hospital because of one.  Many people with COPD periodically suffer from a marked worsening of their COPD symptoms including (cough, increased mucus production, and shortness of breath). Doctors refer to these as exacerbrations and they can last for a few days or longer and often requires antibiotics, oral steroids, and in some cases, hospitalization.

Emphysema usually refers to a long-term, progressive disease of the lungs that primarily causes shortness of breath.  Subcutaneous emphysema refers to a condition when gas or air is present in the subcutaneous layer of the skin.

In emphysema, the walls between many of the air sacs are damaged. As a result, the air sacs lose their shape and become floppy. This damage also can destroy the walls of the air sacs, leading to fewer and larger air sacs instead of many tiny ones. If this happens, the amount of gas exchange in the lungs is reduced.

In chronic bronchitis, the lining of the airways is constantly irritated and inflamed. This causes the lining to thicken. Lots of thick mucus forms in the airways, making it hard to breathe.


COPD is a major cause of disability, and it’s the third leading cause of death in the United States. Currently, millions of people are diagnosed with COPD. Many more people may have the disease and not even know it.

COPD develops slowly. Symptoms often worsen over time and can limit your ability to do routine activities. Severe COPD may prevent you from doing even basic activities like walking, cooking, or taking care of yourself.

Most of the time, COPD is diagnosed in middle-aged or older adults. The disease isn’t passed from person to person—you can’t catch it from someone else.

COPD has no cure yet, and doctors don’t know how to reverse the damage to the airways and lungs. However, treatments and lifestyle changes can help you feel better, stay more active, and slow the progress of the disease.


Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Definitions and Outlook


4 responses to “Definitions…… and Outlook

  1. Brenda

    November 9, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    I can’t like this disease, yuck! I don’t smoke, and I always figured being pregnant put a strain on my lungs. I get asthma when I get a cold now, and then it goes away when I’m better. My husband’s father has mycobacterium simiae, which is another lung destroyer. It’s a hard world we live in.

    • FlaHam

      November 11, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      Brenda, It is indeed a hard world, and as we get older it seems more harsh. I had advised you to consider joining one of the Lung Disorder support groups, I do hope you follow up on that. It can help in many ways, but having the emotional support of so many that suffer as you, does make it just a touch easier. Please keep this in mind. Take care, Bill

  2. huntmode

    November 16, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Bill, nice clear definitions. Thanks. HuntMode

    • FlaHam

      November 16, 2013 at 11:42 pm

      Hunt, That list does grow as new words and phrases are added to the vocabulary of COPD. COPD has only recently began to gather strength and airtime. But as I find new words and terms I will add them to the list. Take care, Bill


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