Do you know what COPD stands for? I think it's one of those things, if you don't know anyone affected by it, it's highly unlikely you would know about it. However the disease is fairly common unfortunately (estimated 3 million of people in the UK!) and has been attributed its own World Awareness Day - 19th November 2014.
Worldwide, COPD affects 329 million people or nearly 5% of the population.
In 2012, it ranked as the third-leading cause of death, killing over 3 million people.
COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease
You may have heard words such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis?
Typical symptoms include increasing breathlessness when active, a persistent cough with phlegm, frequent chest infections.
And unfortunately, guess what? The main cause is Smoking (pollution and genetics to a MUCH lesser extent)! And the longer you have smoked in your life, the higher the chance your airways are damaged:
Over many years, the inflammation leads to permanent changes in the lung. The walls of the airways thicken and more mucus is produced. Damage to the delicate walls of the air sacs in the lungs causes emphysema and the lungs lose their normal elasticity. The smaller airways also become scarred and narrowed. These changes cause the symptoms of breathlessness, cough and phlegm associated with COPD. - NHS.UK
It is important that COPD is diagnosed as early as possible (as early as 35 years old!) so treatment can be used to try to slow down the deterioration of your lungs - the best way is by stopping smoking. This is particularly true for smokers who dismiss their symptoms because they think all they have is a bad "Smoker's cough"!
In UK, there are about 25,000 deaths related to COPD so it's not just a case of bad cough!
The number of deaths is projected to increase due to higher smoking rates and an aging population in many countries.
That's why awareness days are important!
See you Soon for more Sexy Science,