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COPD, Emphysema, and Chronic Bronchitis Protocol
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a condition involving both emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Emphysema is characterized by permanent enlargement of the bronchiole and alveoli (air sacs) due to loss of elasticity. The condition is also accompanied by destruction of the lining between the air sacs where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide occurs. The damage of the alveolar walls reduces the surface area for oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange causing reduced oxygen intake. The loss of the elasticity makes it difficult to blow air out from the lungs. The most common symptom is shortness of breath, especially on exertion. Other symptoms include wheezing, dry cough, and chest tightness with exercise, phlegm production, and unproductive cough. Patients may need oxygen support as their condition progress due to airflow obstruction in severe emphysema caused by the collapse of the elastic tissue surrounding the alveola septa.
To maintain a healthy lung structure, the lungs have the ability to remove unhealthy cells and replace them with new healthy cells. The removal process is catalyzed by the proteases including neutrophil elastase, proteinase 3, macrophage elastase and matrix metalloproteinases. To balance the proteolytic activities, inhibitors such as a-1 antitrypsin produced by the liver can inhibit the elastase produced by neutrophil. Lung inflammation and infection from bacteria or influenza virus and reactive oxygen species or toxic chemicals such as nicotine from smoking can trigger TNF and chemokines including IL-8 which cause infiltration of neutrophil and macrophage to the alveoli and release of high amounts of proteases. Abnormal high proteolytic activity and/or decrease or deficiency of a-1 antitrypsin results in lung tissue damage and loss of elasticity.
In addition to abnormally high proteolytic activity that dissolves lung tissue, emphysema can also be caused by low levels of tissue regeneration and repair due to low enzyme activities including histone deacetylases (HDACs), factor-1a (HIF-1a) etc. HDACs are a class of enzymes with activities that increase the tightness of the histones to wrap the DNA.
Such activity regulates gene expression and controls the maintenance of lung alveolar septal structures. Research has found that HDAC expression in the lungs are abnormally low in COPD patients. Inhibitors that suppress HDAC activities causes partially reversible emphysema in animal studies. Low HDAC can be caused by genetic, infections, malnutrition, smoking or alcohol. The reduced metabolic activity towards tissue growth and/or increased metabolic activity toward tissue dissolving causes lung structure degeneration leading to the development of emphysema.
Chronic Bronchitis is the chronic inflammation of the bronchi due to infection or inflammation. It causes bronchi lining degeneration and hypertrophy of goblet cells with hypersecretion of mucus. The excessive mucus blocks the airway further exacerbating inflammation and infection. Over time the condition leads to the degeneration of bronchi bronchiolar wall fibrosis and eventually, scar tissue forms in the lungs which obstruct the airflow and doesn't allow the lungs to take in as much oxygen as needed. Chronic bronchi inflammation will also cause emphysema. Chronic bronchitis is almost always coexistent with emphysema. Symptoms include shortness of breath, cough and sputum production, wheezing, and difficulty breathing when lying down.
Promotion of lung health has become more important nowadays as lung diseases have shown as the fastest rising condition of any leading cause of death, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control in 2010. 400,000 Americans die every year from COPD and it is now the third leading cause of death surpassing stroke. More than 35 million Americans are now living with a chronic lung disease. We promote a holistic approach to maintain respiratory health and improve your overall wellness. About 3.2 million people succumbed that year to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), caused mainly by smoking and pollution, while 400,000 people died from asthma. COPD is a group of lung conditions—including emphysema and bronchitis—that make it difficult to breathe.
Topics covered by Our Respiratory Wellness Care Program:
1) Lung health including structure integrity and function
2) Bronchi health and phlegm production
3) Lung degeneration and fibrosis formation
4) Asthmatic challenging and difficulty of breathing
5) Clean heat and toxins from lung
6) Nasal congestion
8) Cessation Program
Our Corporate and Individual Respiratory Cessation Programs:
Americans spend more than half of their time at work, and many are either at risk for or dealing with lung disease of some kind. Lung disease—which includes chronic conditions like asthma and COPD, and respiratory illnesses like the flu and pneumonia—is one of the most common and costly of all health problems. And smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer and other major health issues. By making small changes in your workplace environment and providing resources to employees to change behaviors and improve health, you can create a safer and healthier workplace for all employees and see a significant savings in healthcare related costs.
Small changes can include focusing on indoor air quality, providing quit smoking resources for employees, educating those living with a chronic lung disease and helping employees adopt healthier lifestyles.
Dr. Amsu Bey-El along with The American Lung Association offers comprehensive support to help employers adopt and implement workplace policies and programs that support a healthy work environment while contributing to a healthier corporate bottom line.