Care Transitions:  Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) - Pt. 1

May 18, 2012

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is another leading cause of death and illness for older adults, and is a leading cause of re-admission to the hospital within 30 days following exacerbation of the disease.  COPD is caused by a group of lung diseases that block the airflow as a person exhales, making it increasingly difficult to breathe. 

Two Main Conditions that comprise COPD:  Emphysema and Chronic Asthmatic Bronchitis

These two conditions over time, cause damage to the airway and this eventually interferes with the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the pulmonary system.  Emphysema involves the destruction of the lung over time, while Chronic Asthmatic Bronchitis involves a long-term cough with mucus.  Most people suffering from COPD have a combination fo the two.  The number one cause of COPD is smoking.  Though many smokers never develop COPD, in general, the more one smokes, the higher the risk of developing the disease.