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What is COPD?

Learn about Accord's COPD Clinical Trials

Lungs that have been damaged by COPDChronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive respiratory illness which currently affects millions of Americans. While it’s possible to manage COPD, the symptoms will get worse over time. Clinical trials, like the ones we are conducting here in Port Orange, help to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of new medications and therapies for COPD. They are also a viable alternative for patients who haven’t had success with conventional medicine.

A progressive disease like COPD means that it continues to worsen over time, even when someone takes the proper steps to manage their symptoms. People who are diagnosed with this respiratory illness will find it increasingly harder to breath as it progresses. This means that it is critical to begin treatment for this disease as soon as possible. The following indications could be early warning signs for COPD:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Coughing that produces large amounts of mucus

Those that are dealing with the more chronic symptoms know firsthand just how debilitating they can be. The research team at Accord wants Florida residents to know that they can play a pivotal role in the development of new therapies in this important field of medicine.

(Is this an opportunity that you are interested in? Please click on the link above or give us a call at (386) 760-7353.)

Studies have shown that the no. 1 leading cause of COPD is cigarette smoking. The majority of diagnosed cases are found in current or past smokers. If you’ve maintained this habit for a long period of time, then please do not ignore any of the symptoms mentioned above.

Research has also identified several airborne irritants that seem to cause irreversible damage to the respiratory system over time. Prolonged exposure to any of the following could significantly increase one’s risk for COPD:

  • Air pollution
  • Chemical fumes
  • Dust

How Do Your Lungs Operate Normally?

In order to truly understand the impact of a disease like COPD, one should be familiar with how healthy lungs operate. When humans breathe in, they suck in air that moves through the windpipe into the bronchial tubes (airways). These tubes then split up further into thousands of tinier tubes known as bronchioles. There is a tiny air sac called an alveoli at the end of each.

The walls of the alveolar are filled with tiny blood vessels (capillaries). When they fill with air, the oxygen then permeates through the walls and into the blood of the capillaries. Carbon dioxide is also filtered out during this exchange of gases.

The walls of both the alveoli and the airways are naturally elastic, so they can expand and contract when we breath air in and out (sort of like a little balloon).

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease limits the amount of air that the lungs are able to take in and expel. It’s a slow and terrible process that starts with:

  1. The alveoli and airways becoming less elastic over time
  2. The walls grow increasingly thick with with scar tissue due to inflammation
  3. The walls eventually succumb completely to the damage
  4. Mucus builds up in the airways and clogs them

COPD Is Actually Comprised of 3 Illnesses

Technically speaking, COPD is not a single disease. It is composed of:

  • Emphysema
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Asthma

Emphysema causes permanent damage to the walls of the alveolar. Eventually, these tiny air sacs no longer have their natural elasticity can cannot maintain a healthy shape. It’s not uncommon for them to be completely destroyed in advanced-stage COPD. This severely hampers the body’s ability to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. It’s just one of the reasons that COPD can be so deadly.

Chronic bronchitis produces near constant inflammation in the lining of the airways. Those with this condition must constantly struggle to breath as the walls of their airways become thick with scar tissue and clogged with mucus. Most people are exhibiting the signs of chronic bronchitis when they are diagnosed with COPD.

(If you’d like to learn more about asthma, please check our condition page by clicking here.)

Want to Enroll in a COPD Clinical Trial at Accord?

If you are interested in volunteering for a COPD clinical trial, our dedicated research team is available to answer any questions that you might have. Additionally, we recommend taking a few moments to check out our clinical study participation resource section. It contains plenty of valuable information which might answer several of your questions and help paint a picture of what to expect as a participant.

We’d also like you to know that accepted volunteers will be receiving compensation after they have completed the clinical trial with us. All study related tests and prescribed medication are provided free of charge.

Accord’s clinic in Port Orange, FL has all the resources to conduct clinical trials targeted towards a wide range of medical conditions. If you don’t have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, our dedicated team will help find the most appropriate study to enroll you in. Interested in helping us advance modern medicine? Call us today at (386) 760-7353.

Watch a Short Video about Living with COPD