Respiratory

Updated on 28th January 2013 at 12:31 pm

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ASTHMA – Further information can be obtained by clicking here.

Asthma is caused by inflammation of the airways.  These are the small tubes, called bronchi, which carry air in and out of the lungs.  If you have asthma, the bronchi will be inflamed and more sensitive than normal.  When you come into contact with something that irritates your lungs (known as a trigger) your airways become narrow, the muscles around them tighten and there is an increase in the production of sticky mucus (phlegm).  This makes it difficult to breathe and causes wheezing and coughing.  It may also make your chest feel tight.

COPD – Further information can be obtained by clicking here.

What is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a general term which includes the conditions chronic bronchitis and emphysema.  COPD is the preferred term, but you may still hear it called chronic obstructive airways disease (COAD).

  • Chronic means persistent.
  • Bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchi (the airways of the lungs).
  • Emphysema is damage to the smaller airways and air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs.
  • Pulmonary means ‘affecting the lungs’.

Chronic bronchitis or emphysema can cause obstruction (narrowing) of the airways.  Chronic bronchitis and emphysema commonly occur together.  The term COPD is used to describe airflow obstruction due to chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both.

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