our Health Index for More Subjects, Conditions and
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary
COPD is a general term for the many
conditions affecting your lungs. Pulmonary refers to
the lungs. COPD is a progressive condition that
worsens over time and makes it difficult to breathe.
What is COPD?
To understand COPD, you need to
understand how the lungs work.
When you breathe, air goes down your
windpipe into tubes in your lungs These tubes are
called bronchial tubes or airways.
the lungs, your bronchial tubes branch into thousands
of smaller, thinner tubes called bronchioles. These
tubes end in bunches of tiny round air sacs called
Small blood vessels called capillaries
run through the walls of these air sacs. When air
reaches the air sacs, oxygen passes through the air
sac walls into the blood in the capillaries. At the
same time, carbon dioxide (a waste gas) moves from the
capillaries into the air sacs. This process is called
The airways and air sacs are elastic.
This means they are stretchy. When you breathe in,
each air sac fills up with air like a small balloon.
When you breathe out, the air sacs deflate and the air
Lungs with COPD
With COPD, the lungs are
In COPD, less air flows in and out of
the airways because of one or more of the following:
- The airways and air sacs lose their elastic
- The walls between many of the air sacs are
- The walls of the airways become thick and
- The airways make more mucus than usual, which
can clog them.
There are two main conditions that
create COPD: Chronic bronchitis, which involves a
long-term cough with mucus; Emphysema, which involves
destruction of the lungs, over time.
How do they create COPD?
In emphysema, the walls between many
of the air sacs are damaged. As a result of this
damage, the air sacs lose their shape and become
floppy. This damage can destroy the walls of the air
sacs, leading to fewer and larger air sacs instead of
many tiny ones. With this condition the amount of gas
exchange in the lungs is reduced. It is felt as
"hard to breathe".
In chronic bronchitis, the lining of
the airways are constantly irritated and inflamed.
This causes the lining to thicken. Lots of thick mucus
forms in the airways, making it hard to breathe.
Most people who have COPD have both
emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Thus, the general
term "COPD" is more accurate.
Cigarette smoking is a leading cause
of COPD. Many people who have COPD smoke or used to
Long-term exposure to other lung
irritants—such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or
dust contributes to COPD.
COPD can cause coughing that
produces large amounts of mucus (a slimy substance),
wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and
What happens and what to do about COPD
COPD is a major cause of disability,
and it's the third leading cause of death in the
COPD develops slowly. Symptoms often
worsen over time Severe COPD may prevent you from
doing even basic activities like walking, cooking, or
taking care of yourself.
This is a condition that isn't passed
between people. You can't catch it from someone else.
COPD has no cure yet, as the medical
doctors don't know how to reverse the damage to the
airways and lungs. Medical treatments and lifestyle
changes can help you feel better, stay more active,
and slow the progress of the disease.
Often medical doctors will prescribe
drugs called control drugs:
Depending on the medicine, control
drugs help you breathe easier by:
- Relaxing the muscles in your airways
- Reducing any swelling in your airways
Most COPD drugs need to be taken for a
month before you will feel better.
As with all drugs, they can create
other nutritional deficiencies. See Drug Muggers Which Medications are Robbing Your Body of Essential Nutrients and How to Restore Them
by Suzy Cohen, RPh (Kindle) or Paperback
Whenever you take drugs, you should check to see what
the side effects are and what supplements you can take
to give your body what it needs.
For instance, corticosteroids deplete
the body of calcium, folate, magnesium, potassium,
selenium, Vitamin C, Vitamin D and zinc. There are
many conditions created by deficiencies of these
You need a diet rich in protein.
Protein builds organ tissue. You can also take the
Beta-carotene: protects your lungs
from air pollution and smoke, helps the small air sacs
in your lung to be cleaner and healthier.
Selenium: helps keep your lungs
Vitamin A: turns into carotenes which
your body needs for lung function.
Vitamin C: helps people breathe easier
as it's an anti-oxidant
Vitamin E: Preserves nutrients needed
for building new cells, fights cellular aging and
protects the lungs form oxidative damage.
Be sure to get whole food vitamins
when looking for nutrition to help build health.
What is Whole
We always recommend you build health - and phytonutrients which are plant-derived products can build overall health including respiratory function.
Read our recommendation: PhytoZon
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