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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a type of lung disease that is induced primarily by smoking and is fast increasing. Symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, wheezing, tightness in the chest, a productive cough and production of lots of smelly phlegm. Diagnosis is through a clinical history and examination, lung function tests and chest x-ray. Arterial blood gases are conducted to assess the severity of acute exacerbations. Respiratory failure can be detected clinically in those with reduced consciousness and concentration. Treatment is with medication including bronchodilators as a mainstay treatment, and antibiotics and corticosteroids for acute exacerbations. COPD is a major cause of morbidity (illness) particularly in winter, and contributes to mortality with acute exacerbations also directly causing death. Exacerbations are caused by bacterial and viral infections, pollution, and smoking, and are avoided with vaccinations e.g influenzae, S.pneumoniae (pneumonia causing bacteria) and inhaled corticosteroids. Severely affected patients require nursing care for everyday activities and can lead to anxiety and depression due to loss of independence. These patients also require home oxygen, lung rehab programs and carer support to proffer a positive quality of life despite their illness.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by Red Nova
About: COPD takes its toll
Date: 28 June 2005
Source: Red Nova
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