Long before it becomes the problem of lack of oxygen, the body works. Many COPD patients have increased inflammatory activity not only in the lungs but also generally as a systemic reaction.
Combination of systemic inflammation and sometimes also lack of oxygen leads to fatigue and a reduced general condition.
Previously, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) was considered purely a lung disease, but today it is seen as a systemic disease affecting the entire body. Weight loss, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, incontinence as well as depression and anxiety are a problem that can affect COPD patients.
What happens in the lungs at COPD?
COPD is developing slowly, which provides good opportunities to counteract the disease before it breaks out. Quitting smoking is always the most important step. The disease starts with an inflammation in the finest trachea (bronchiolite) and the bladder (alveolite) due to the harmful substances in the tobacco smoke. Inflammation causes a lot of mucus to form in the airways that must be coughed up. Due to inflammation, the trachea also contracts. The result is that the air becomes more difficult to pass down to the pulmonary vesicles. The walls of the lung bladders are destroyed by this inflammation and smaller and larger cavities (emphysema) are formed. I the cavities have lost the gas exchange mechanism. The result is breathlessness. If the debilitating inflammatory treatment does not slow down, the damage will become worse over time.
In those who have healthy lungs, 2-3 percent of the body’s energy is spent on breathing. In severe COPD it can be up to 30 percent. This is one of several reasons why patients with COPD involuntarily lose weight. Another reason is that they are unable to eat again. The inflammatory COPD disease in itself, not least in the case of simultaneous infection in the workplace and general placement and appetite to help with weight loss.
COPD affects the entire health
Some consequences of COPD in the later stages of the disease may be:
Severe weight loss and osteoporosis.
Blood circulation is affected by chronic respiratory failure, as are the kidneys and cardiovascular system – especially the pulmonary circulation and the heart’s right ventricle. In addition, 30–40 percent of patients with COPD have heart failure.
The muscles work worse, for example, women can suffer from incontinence.
In addition, breathing difficulties cause anxiety and depression.
Difficult to detect COPD symptoms
All smokers are not affected by COPD but many. Smokers who develop the disease require about 20 years of smoking in time. The symptoms are often diffuse at first or completely absent. The patient may have lost 30-40 percent of lung functions and still perceive himself as trouble free. The reason is so-called adaptation, habits. E called COPD is slowly developing to expect patients with the symptoms and explains them with poor condition or that it is normal for a smoker to cough and suffer from mucus in the trachea. But on the contrary, these symptoms are signs of COPD.
Symptoms of COPD may be:
Feeling of having worse condition.
Shortness of breath during exertion, in severe cases also at rest.
Chronic cough, often coughing up mucus, so called coughing.
Beep in the chest
Feeling tight in the chest / pressure over the chest.
Repeated airway infections and colds that are becoming more prolonged.