Jan. 21, 2018; by Tony Isaacs; (Silver Bulletin e-News Magazine) Part 1. COPD, which stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a lung disease characterized by progressive airflow limitations where sufferers of the disease are increasingly unable to take in and absorb enough oxygen. Millions of people suffer from COPD and when it is treated by mainstream medicine, the progression of the disease can be managed and slowed down, but it cannot be completely halted or reversed and the disease will ultimately become fatal. Fortunately for those who look outside mainstream medicine, nature may offer a different outcome.
In the past, the terms “chronic bronchitis” and “emphysema” were viewed separately, but today both are incorporated into the overall COPD diagnosis. The primary cause of COPD is chronic inhalation of particles which results in an abnormal inflammatory reaction. As the disease progresses, the lungs become increasingly restricted and increasingly less efficient in absorbing oxygen due to the formation of abnormal sacs, or bubbles, of air and fluid and the formation of scar tissue.
People who suffer from COPD find themselves increasingly unable to get enough oxygen into their bloodstreams because they are unable to breathe enough air out of their constricted lungs to enable them to breathe enough air back into their lungs. Plus, what oxygen is brought into the lungs is not absorbed as well by the damaged lungs due to the lack of properly functioning healthy lung tissue.
COPD symptoms often don’t appear until after significant lung damage has taken place. Usually, symptoms worsen over time as the disease progresses. The main symptom for chronic bronchitis is a daily cough and mucus (sputum) production that may be clear, white, yellow or greenish. According to the Mayo Clinic, such a daily cough and mucus production for at least three months a year for two consecutive years is a primary sign of chronic bronchitis.
Other signs and symptoms of COPD may include:
- Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities
- Chest tightness
- Unusual breathing patterns
- Fatigue/lack of energy
- Decreased appetite and weight loss
- Decreased tolerance for exercise
- Having to clear your throat first thing in the morning
- Blueness of the lips or fingernail beds and cuticles (cyanosis)
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Unintended weight loss (especially in later stages)
- “Barrel Chested” appearance
- Swelling in ankles, feet or legs
When it comes to COPD, two similar major problems are air and fluid pockets known as “blebs” and “bullae”. Pulmonary blebs, or blebs, are small blister-like thin-walled air pockets that form on the surface of the lung. If they rupture, they allow air to escape into the pleural space (a spontaneous pneumothorax) which puts pressure on the lungs. Left unchecked, ruptured blebs can cause the lungs to collapse.
A bulla (plural bullae) is a larger abnormal blister-like or bubble-like cavity filled with air and/or fluid, particularly serous fluid. Serous fluid is a pale yellow and transparent fluid which is normally benign and which fills cavities throughout the body. With COPD, the excessive build-up of serous fluid in bullae puts additional pressure on the lungs and, more critically, takes up space and prevents the lungs from being able to take in enough oxygen.
Both blebs and abnormal bullae can cause pulmonary fibrosis, which essentially is the build up of scar tissue in the lungs due to the accumulation of excess fibrous connective tissue (a process known as fibrosis). As is the case throughout the body, scar tissue is made up of fibrin. This thickening of the walls, or scarring, causes reduced oxygen supply in the blood. Like COPD itself, and many other conditions for that matter, mainstream medicine has no known cure for pulmonary fibrosis.