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December 20, 2016


COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease includes, among other diseases, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.  COPD encompasses disorders that gradually damage or destroy lung tissue.  COPD is normally found in the older segment of our population.  There is no cure for COPD.  Inhaled medications can help to relieve symptoms of chronic bronchitis.  The only medication available for those with emphysema is supplemental oxygen.


Most asthma, on the other hand, is a long-term inflammation of the lung, rather like a rash. It can be triggered by allergic reactions to inhaled substances, such as household dust mites, mold, pet dander, and various pollens.  Asthma causes the lungs to become inflamed, narrowing the airways and making it difficult to breathe.  Asthma occurs in people of all ages.


Chronic bronchitis also causes restrictions in the airways, and both bronchitis and asthma may be treated with inhaled bronchodilators that relax airways and help them to open up.  In addition, asthma sufferers may benefit from inhaled corticosteroids that reduce the inflammation.  Once the lung inflammation is treated in asthma patients, many of them can look forward to a relatively symptom-free future.


It is quite possible for patients to suffer from both COPD and asthma.  Since smoking can cause COPD and can also irritate the airways of those with asthma, smoking cessation is very important for either disorder.


Uncle Jim & Aunt Mary


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