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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Learn about Achieve's COPD Clinical Trials

Man suffering from COPDDo you know why we are conducting clinical trials for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)? This progressive respiratory disease can be managed, but there is still no comprehensive cure available for patients. Clinical trials serve as viable alternatives for people who have not found success through more conventional COPD treatments.

As we mentioned, COPD is a progressive disease, meaning that it’s debilitating symptoms get worse over time. People who are diagnosed with this lung disease will find it increasingly more difficult to breath as the disease progresses. Common indications for this illness include:

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

(You can learn more about the symptoms associated with COPD on this page.)

COPD Fast Facts

  • COPD currently ranks as the third leading cause of death here in the United States
  • The leading cause of this disease is cigarette smoking
  • Studies show that the disease remains drastically under-diagnosed
  • 80 percent of patients are hospitalized following a COPD exacerbation

Research shows that the primary risk factor for COPD is smoking cigarettes. If you have been a long-term smoker, then please be sure to watch out for any potential red flags. A patient’s overall quality of life tends to be significantly better if they are able to identify the issue early and begin treatment right away.

Clinical studies have also shown that prolonged exposure to certain airborne irritants may also play a significant role in the development of this respiratory disease. These include:

  • Chemical fumes
  • Air pollution
  • Dust

Understanding How the Lungs Work

When seeking to understand how COPD works, it helps to review how our lungs work. As a person breathes in, the air travels down the windpipe into the bronchial tubes or airways. The bronchial tubes get split up into thousands of tiny, thinner tubes known as bronchioles. All the tubes eventually end at a tiny round air sac known as an alveoli.

The walls of the alveoli are filled with tiny capillaries (blood vessels). As the sacs fill with air, the oxygen permeates through the walls and into the blood of the capillaries. The carbon dioxide is also separated out during this gas exchange.

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).

COPD limits the amount of air a person is able to take in and out of their lungs. There are several ways that this disease can do this:

  • Loss of elasticity in the alveoli and airways
  • These walls start to become thick with scar tissue due to inflammation
  • The walls are eventually destroyed
  • Mucus builds up in the airways and clogs them

COPD is Actually an Umbrella Term

This chronic respiratory disease is actually composed of three conditions:

  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Asthma

(The latest drugs available for COPD can more effectively manage the effects of these different conditions.)

Doctor concerned about COPD's progression in patientChronic bronchitis produces constant inflammation in the lining of the patient’s airways. Shortness of breath becomes a regular struggle as scar tissue thickens these linings and mucus builds up. Most people who’ve been diagnosed with COPD are suffering from the symptoms of chronic bronchitis. You can learn more about this condition by visiting our page on chronic bronchitis.

Emphysema causes progressive degrees of damage to the walls of the air sacs (alveoli). Over time, the sacs can no longer maintain their healthy shape. Eventually, the walls themselves may be completely destroyed. This drastically reduces the body’s ability to perform the gas exchange so vital for sustaining life.

Anyone who is interested in one of our COPD clinical trials should know that their level of participation does not have to be a very demanding experience. Participating in a clinical trial in Birmingham, AL 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 Achieve Clinical Blog.

COPD Clinical Trials in Birmingham, Alabama

Achieve Clinical Research is currently conducting a wide array of clinical studies targeted towards certain conditions. Our medical researchers are working to gain a better understanding of the development of this group of lung disease. With a better understanding of the pathogenesis of COPD, they will soon be able treat the disease at the source.

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.

COPD Explained: An Educational Video

Additional Resources for COPD

If you live around Central Alabama, click here to learn more about participating in a COPD clinical trial. Also, our sister site Avail Clinical Research conducts COPD clinical trials in DeLand, Florida.