Module 5: COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
COPD Risk Factors
- Exposure to second-hand smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes and dust from the environment or workplace
- Family history
- Age (over 40)
- Childhood lung infections
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a chronic lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. COPD includes two forms of COPD: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Most people with COPD have a combination of both conditions. To understand COPD, it helps to understand how the lungs work.
How do the lungs work?
Bronchial tubes (airways) and alveoli (air sacs) and the two main parts of the lungs. When you breathe, air moves through your airways and into your air sacs. The air sacs are surrounded by tiny capillaries. Capillaries are tiny blood vessels that allow oxygen and carbon dioxide to pass through. When you inhale, fresh oxygen goes into your blood through the air sacs and capillaries. When you exhale, carbon dioxide, the body's waste product, moves out of the lungs. This process is called gas exchange.
Healthy bronchial tubes are alveoli are springy and elastic. When you breathe in, air sacs fills with air like a balloon. When you exhale, the balloon deflates.