How Does COPD Affect the Lungs?
COPD affects the lungs by reducing its elasticity, which makes it difficult for them to completely push air out.
The lungs expand and contract as you inhale and exhale. Oxygenated air flows through the bronchi, spreads into the bronchioles, and ends up in the alveoli (small air sacs). Blood vessels absorb the oxygen into the bloodstream.
At the same moment, you exhale the waste produced by metabolism (carbon dioxide) in a reverse flow.
This process is possible because the air sacs and bronchial tubes have an elastic quality. However, in a COPD patient, depending on the severity, the elasticity is lost, making these tubes over-expand and unable to completely push out the air in the lungs.
What Are Some Risk Factors of COPD?
Your risk rises if you have asthma and smoke, or you keep smoking or expose yourself to lung irritants after being diagnosed.
Age can also be a risk factor in the sense that symptoms start to arise around 40 years of age.