From the novel coronavirus to devastating wildfires, 2020 has been a challenging year for us all. But for people with chronic respiratory illnesses like COPD or asthma, this year has been the ultimate test. The good news is that, by following all COVID-19 safety precautions stated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and by checking the air quality index (AQI) before leaving the house, many COPD patients have adjusted nicely to a new way of life.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an umbrella term used to define two different types of lung disease: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The former is a condition that impairs the bronchioles, the airway tubes that lead into the lungs. The latter affects the tiny air sacs in the lungs called the alveoli. These are responsible for the transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from the bloodstream. Both chronic bronchitis and emphysema are called “obstructive” diseases because they make it more difficult for the patient to expel air from the lungs, thus leading to a buildup of CO2 in the blood.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the most common lung diseases in the world. It’s estimated that about 16.4 million people in the United States alone have COPD and millions more are either undiagnosed or at high risk of contracting it. Despite this fact, many people are woefully unaware of what causes this disease and how it should best be managed.
It is 2021, and no matter who you are, your life was most likely impacted by the global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus first exposed in late 2019 (COVID-19). This virus is the most dangerous for humans when it infects your respiratory system, so this is obviously frightening for people with COPD and other underlying health conditions and immunodeficiencies.
There is much more that is unknown about the virus than there is any information that is definitive: How fast it spreads, how easily transmittable it is, and so much more will be under scientific scrutiny for months even years to come.