Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a complex illness such as chronic airways obstruction and persistent breathlessness in a wide variety of patients. This can be caused by air pollution, work hazards, and lung infections but characteristically includes those current or ex-smokers. For example Cigarette smoking alters the structure and function of the lungs causing them to increase in size and lose their elasticity (www.metrohealth.org accessed 2nd November 2009). In general, COPD is directly associated with other debilitating lung diseases, including Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis, where the airways in the lungs are partly obstructed, narrower making it difficult to get air in and out.
In particular, Emphysema is characterized by enlarged (over-inflation) alveoli or air sacs in the lungs, distal to the terminal bronchioles which have been damaged gradually over time (The Linde Group, 2007). This over-inflation results from a breakdown of the walls of the alveoli therefore losses its elasticity , tins and small amounts of air remain in the lungs, thereby creating a poor level(decrease) of lung function and not enough oxygen into the body which leads to breathing problems (The Linde Group, 2007). ...Show more