Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are the representatives of a group of pathologic conditions called COPD (Chronic pulmonary obstructive diseases). Those are characterized by partial or complete blockage of the respiratory airways leading to the functional disability of the lungs (Mohan 2010). They are both quite common and may even occur together, but for clinicians, they have distinct differences.Chronic Bronchitis & Emphysema Essay
Emphysema is a condition that arises due to a combination of dilated alveoli and destruction of the alveoli walls. The main etiological factors leading to this condition are smoking cigarettes and air pollutants, other minor factors like hereditary and genetics can contribute to this condition. The pathogenesis of this condition as it relates to eventual alveolar wall destruction is based on the fact that oxidants from cigarette smoke cause an imbalance between elastase and anti-elastase (Mohan 2010). An increase in elastase activity causes a breakdown of elastin in the alveolar leading to expansion or hyperinflation and its destruction. Mohan (2010) has stated that according to WHO, emphysema can be classified into five types: centriacinar, panacinar, para-septal, irregular and mixed and these are based on the part of acinus involved. Patients with emphysema are also called ‘pink-puffers. Their health conditions are characterized by shortness of breath, cough (often not productive), barrel-shaped chest, weight loss and terminally could lead to a condition called cor-pulmonale.