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New Research Offers Hope for those who Suffer from COPD

Posted by on May 24th, 2018

Picture of someone having their lungs listened to by a doctor.

“COPD.” Via MedlinePlus.gov, April 17, 2018, Public Domain.

A new research study suggests that there is a possible treatment for COPD that would not only treat the disease but also some of its associated co-symptoms.  Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has no cure.  There are two types of COPD:  chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Causes of COPD include exposure to air pollutants, respiratory infections and genetic factors but tobacco smoke is the leading cause.  Symptoms of COPD can start out mild but progressively worsen over time.  They include:

  • An ongoing cough or a cough that produces a lot of mucus; this is often called smoker’s cough.
  • Shortness of breath, especially with physical activity
  • Wheezing or a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe
  • Chest tightness

Researchers recently discovered a molecular pathway that can be pharmacologically blocked to prevent the damaging inflammation of COPD.  The senior author of the study, immunologist Associate Professor Margaret Hibbs said, ““Nothing previously has proved to be effective in treating patients with COPD, which is why this finding is so exciting. We can now attempt to target this protein.”  According to Professor Hibbs, “this would be the first ever strategy that would not only treat the lung disease but the co-associated medical conditions at the same time.”

This will be great news for the nearly 15.7 million Americans the CDC reports have been diagnosed with COPD.  To learn more about this study, click here.

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