Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Do you know why we are conducting clinical trials for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)? The symptoms of this respiratory disease get steadily worse over time, and experts have yet to develop a cure for COPD. Focusing more clinical trials on patients with this condition has paved the way for the advanced COPD treatments that are available today.
COPD is a progressive illness, which is why the symptoms will continue to progress even with treatment. This disease is very difficult to monitor (even with advanced medical imaging tests), since the earliest symptoms may be nothing more than shortness of breath at odd times. Other indications for COPD include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Tightness in the chest
- Coughing that produces large amounts of mucus
Fast Facts on COPD
- COPD is the third leading cause of death here in the U.S.
- Studies show that the disease remains drastically under-diagnosed
- 80 percent of patients are hospitalized following a COPD exacerbation
- The leading cause of this disease is cigarette smoking
As one can see, the leading cause of this respiratory lung disease is smoking cigarettes. Long-term smokers should always been mindful of the earliest signs like overall shortness of breath and difficulty breathing at unusual times. Being knowledgeable of the symptoms of COPD means getting important medications at an earlier important stage.
Researcher have also discovered that prolonged exposure to various employment hazards and other airborne pollutions play a large role in the development of COPD. These irritants include:
- Chemical fumes
- Air pollution
- Cigarette smoke (avoiding cigarette smoking is one of the best ways to prevent this disease)
Knowing How the Lungs Function
If you’re learning about COPD for the first time, then it really helps to have a cursory knowledge of how the lungs function. When air is drawn into the lungs, it must first travel down the windpipe and then into the airways (bronchial tubes). These tubes split off into literally thousands of these tiny, thinner tubes called bronchioles. At the end of these bronchioles is a tiny air sac called an alveoli.
The walls of the air sacs are filled with small blood vessels (capillaries). Once the sac fills up, the oxygen will enter the bloodstream through the capillaries in the alveoli wall. The carbon dioxide is separated out during this stage to be exhaled from the body.
A human’s airways and alveoli are naturally quite elastic— giving them the ability to expand and contract as a person breaths (try picturing a balloon that you blow up and then let deflate again).
This chronic respiratory disease slowly strips away the patient’s ability to breath effectively. COPD can permanently damage someone’s lungs by:
- Thickening the walls of airways after years of scar tissue damage and inflammation
- Deteriorating the elasticity of the airways and alveoli
- Destroying these walls completely
- Inducing a hefty buildup of mucus and clogging the airways
COPD Is Actually More than One Illness
Most people are more than a little surprised to learn that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is composed of three medical conditions:
- Chronic bronchitis
Emphysema can cause permanent damage to the alveoli’s walls– some are damaged to the point where they completely lose any elasticity. With a serious course of treatment, emphysema can completely destroy them. This leaves patients unable to adequately process oxygen on their own.
Chronic bronchitis causes an excess amount of inflammation along the inner lining of the bronchial tubes. A buildup of scar tissue thickens the airways and often leads to shortness of breath. Mucus buildup also becomes a serious consideration. Most cases that are diagnosed were pinpointed because of these symptoms.
(Please check out our asthma page for detailed information on this third condition.)
Anyone who is interested in one of our COPD clinical trials should know that their level of participation is not always very demanding. Participating in a clinical trial here in DeLand, FL may only require agreeing to let our researchers have a copy of your test results– most will require a little more involvement than that.
All participants will be compensated for time and travel, and any study related care. The following are all provided free of charge:
- Physical examinations
- Laboratory services
- Study related medication
Learn more about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease on the Avail Clinical Blog.
COPD Clinical Trials in DeLand, FL
Avail Clinical Research is currently conducting a wide array of clinical studies targeted towards certain conditions. You may be eligible to participate in one of our COPD clinical trials and contribute to the development and approval of a new drug or treatment. As a participant, there is no cost to you at any point during the study and health insurance is not required. Browse our clinical trials being conducted now to find the study best suited for you.
Learn More About COPD With This Video
Resources for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
If you live near Central Florida, click here to learn more about participating in a COPD clinical trial. Also, our sister site Achieve Clinical Research conducts COPD clinical trials in Birmingham, Alabama.