Pathophysiology And Progression Of Copd

2015 Words9 Pages
1. Discuss the anatomy, pathophysiology and progression of COPD Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) includes the illnesses; emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic asthma – separately or in conjunction with each other. COPD can be caused by smoking cigarettes, long-term exposure to pollutants or irritants (such as chemicals) or genetics factors. The lower respiratory system contains the lower trachea, bronchi, bronchioles and alveoli in the lungs. The bronchi form as the lower part of the trachea and branch into two in the left and right lung. The upper segments of the bronchi have C shaped cartilage rings which keep the bronchi open for airflow. The bronchi divide into smaller bronchioles inside the lungs. They are made up of smooth muscle (without cartilage). The bronchioles continue to divide into alveoli; small grape shaped air sacs. Each alveoli is surrounded by pulmonary capillaries. The function of the alveoli is to perform the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. There are millions of alveoli in the lungs, they have thin walls so the diffusion of oxygen and carbon dioxide can move across the membrane without resistance to the pulmonary capillaries. A person with COPD has damaged alveoli and bronchi. This means they have weakened and ruptured air sacs that are unable to efficiently perform the exchange of gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide). As the disease progresses, damage increases to the air sacs to the point of a person feeling breathless even when
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