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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a disease of the respiratory tract that is increasingly common from the age of 55. It mainly affects men with a history of heavy smokers, given that smoking is the main cause, but the increasing number of smokers leads us to predict a greater spread of this disease in the female population in the coming decades.
The inhalation of toxic substances that enter the respiratory tract through smoke and environmental pollution, but also in the workplace, risks causing inflammatory reactions in the lung tissues. The consequences are manifold: destruction of the parenchyma (a tissue of the lungs), excessive production of mucus, obstinate cough, stenosis (narrowing) of the respiratory tract, vascular alterations. The characteristic of COPD is that the air is no longer able to flow freely during exhalation.
Without the intervention of a doctor, these symptoms worsen over the years, until the onset of increasingly severe respiratory failure. In the final phase of the disease, subjects are so deficient in oxygen that they can barely move: breathing becomes so difficult that even the slightest movement is exhausting. Prolonged and effective oxygen therapy is therefore essential.
COPD is a slowly evolving but irreversible disease. Only an early diagnosis allows you to slow down the course, substantially by giving up smoking. For this reason, after the age of 45, all smokers should undergo a spirometry. This test, the main tool for diagnosing COPD, allows you to measure the extent of the stenosis of the respiratory tract. The patient must blow into a particular device, the spirometer, which allows to measure some important parameters of lung function, in particular the maximum expiratory volume per second and the total volume. In addition to this examination, the medical examination also includes an in-depth interview, a complete clinical check-up and an X-ray of the lungs to rule out the presence of other diseases.
The possibilities of treatment
As we have seen, the main countermeasure consists in giving up smoking to halt the advancement of the disease. For the treatment of COPD, new drugs specifically studied are now available, which exerts a dilating action on the bronchi. Symptoms such as coughing and breathing difficulties are alleviated, thus significantly improving the quality of life and general health conditions of patients.
Franco defines itself as a person trapped in a sedentary lifestyle, however, he is an avid fitness “addict” and like, many more in his environment spends vast parts of his leisure time on a gym, running, cycling.