COPD – Emphysema

br6Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the name given to conditions where you find it difficult to breathe in and out due to long term damage to your lungs. COPD includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, but not chronic asthma. Treatments can help manage symptoms but unfortunately don’t offer a cure.

Long term lung damage occurs in response to harmful substances and usually starts with inflammation. If this continues, the walls of the airways become thicker, which narrows the airways, and breathing becomes harder. In chronic bronchitis, the inflammation results in excess production of mucus and phlegm that blocks your airways and makes you cough.

In emphysema, the damage also affects the air sacs, which lose their elasticity. This makes it difficult for air to get in and out of your lungs. With fewer air sacs working properly, taking in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide is limited, making you breathe harder – using up more energy, you may feel tired and less able to carry on everyday life.

respiratory1Staff at the South West Sleep Clinic are trained and experienced in dealing with all kinds of respiratory problems, including those associated with COPD. We may suggest that you need to use some inhalers to o pen up the breathing pipes, treatments to reduce sputum thickness or volume. Often these can be very helpful to improve breathlessness. In the later stages of disease nebulisers and oxygen may be helpful. A full range of assessments is available for all lung conditions.

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