Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (cont.)
George Schiffman, MD, FCCP
Dr. Schiffman received his B.S. degree with High Honors in biology from Hobart College in 1976. He then moved to Chicago where he studied biochemistry at the University of Illinois, Chicago Circle. He attended Rush Medical College where he received his M.D. degree in 1982 and was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. He completed his Internal Medicine internship and residency at the University of California, Irvine.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease facts
- What is COPD?
- How does the normal lung work?
- What is chronic bronchitis?
- What is emphysema?
- What is chronic asthma?
- What is bronchiectasis?
- What causes COPD?
- What are the symptoms of COPD?
- How is COPD diagnosed?
- What treatment is available for COPD?
- Quitting cigarette smoking
- COPD Medications
- Anti-cholinergic agents
- Breo Ellipta
- Treatment of Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency
- What is the role of oxygen as therapy in COPD?
- What else is available for treating COPD?
- Future directions in COPD
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) FAQs
- Find a local Pulmonologist in your town
What is chronic asthma?
Asthma, like chronic bronchitis, is a disease of the airways. Obstruction to the flow of air is due to inflammation of the airways as well as spasm of muscles surrounding the airways in asthma. The narrowing that results from spasm of the muscles is called bronchospasm. Generally, bronchospasm in asthma is reversible and subsides spontaneously or with the use of bronchodilators (medications that relax the muscles surrounding the airways). We now know that a major component of asthma is inflammation of the airways, and this inflammation causes thickening of the walls of the airways. This inflammation involves different inflammatory cells and mediators than those seen in chronic bronchitis. This may play a role in the choice of anti-inflammatory medications for these similar yet different entities. In many asthmatics, anti-inflammatory medications such as inhaled steroids are required to reduce this inflammation. In long standing asthma, this chronic inflammation can lead to scarring and fixed airway obstruction.
What is bronchiectasis?
Bronchiectasis is another abnormality that can be found in patients with COPD. In bronchiectasis, serious and repeated infections of the lung as well as abnormal development of the lung results in permanent damage to the airways. The damaged airways become enlarged tubes or, in more severe cases, large sacs. These segments of lung can impair clearance of secretions. The damaged, mucus-filled airways often become infected, resulting in further inflammation and damage to the airways. Patients with bronchiectasis often have a vigorous cough producing large amounts of infected mucus.
Next: What causes COPD?
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