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What is Chronic Bronchitis?

Chronic Bronchitis wreaks havoc on the lung’s ability to clean themselves out. One of its hallmarks is thick, sticky mucus. This kind of mucus is made from airways that are continuously inflamed and swollen. In this condition, the airways are narrowed, so it’s not easy for the cilia to sweep mucus out of the lungs. As a result, a lot of the mucus just sits in the airways.

Mucus that sits in the lungs is a good incubator for germs that can cause a respiratory infection. Nine out of ten times that COPD flares up, it is because of a respiratory infection. It is therefore highly important to keep mucus moving up out of the lungs in order to stay well and avoid flare-ups of COPD.

With Chronic Bronchitis, not only do the airways narrow because of swelling and inflammation, they sometimes narrow even further when the muscles surrounding the airways squeeze and tighten up. This narrowing of the airways caused by the combination of swelling and squeezing is what makes COPD flare-ups so dangerous. This is why it is so important to recognize symptoms when they first begin, take medications regularly, and learn how to keep mucus flowing up out of the lungs.

How Do Lungs Clean Themselves?

The airways in the lungs are lined with a thin, watery mucus blanket. The mucus sits upon tiny, hair-like strands called “cilia.” The cilia and mucus blanket work together to keep the lungs clean and free from infection.

The lungs are very clean—even though they are directly connected to the outside air, which is full of germs and dust. The reason everyone’s lungs are not full of dust and dirt is because of the amazing job the lungs do to keep themselves clean. It happens like this: The mucus blanket catches germs and dust that make it past the nose and into the lungs. The cilia then sweep the mucus blanket, like a conveyor belt, up to the back of the throat where it is swallowed. Healthy lungs usually sweep up about a cup of mucus every day. There are also germ-fighting cells that ride this conveyor belt and attack any invading germs or other foreign particles.

So, this combination of germ-attacking cells that ride the conveyor belt, as well as any germs and dust that get swept to the back of the throat and swallowed, is the reason why people don’t constantly have pneumonia and lungs full of dust.

What is COPD?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, includes respiratory conditions such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, bronchiectasis, or all three combined. It involves the swelling and inflammation of the airways, which narrows them and produces thick, sticky mucus. These conditions hinder the air in the lungs from being exhaled completely and effectively.

This narrowing of the airways is many times the result of breathing in irritating fumes and allergens, such as perfumes, household cleaning fumes, smoke, and pollens in the air. Because these irritants are always in the air, people with COPD never get complete relief of their symptoms—even when taking medications for their breathing condition. What is more, symptoms can be worsened by other health conditions like congestive heart failure and pneumonia.

It is estimated that around 24 Million Americans have some form of COPD, but unfortunately, half are not even aware that they have it.  This is because most people neglect to mention their breathing problems to their doctor—mistakenly believing that their symptoms are only the result of being out of shape or just getting older. And for those who have been given medications to treat their symptoms, they often fail to take their medications as prescribed—stopping once they begin to feel better, or incorrectly thinking that their breathing condition is not all that serious.

Although COPD symptoms never completely go away, the disease can be effectively treated and kept from getting progressively worse. Taking the correct medications, learning to breathe and relax when short of breath, eating properly, and by staying active, a person with COPD can greatly lessen their symptoms and live a fuller, healthier life.

Are Leaders Born or Made?

Talent vs Skill

Leadership is both a skill and a talent. The skill aspect of it can be refined and grown with time and experience. The talent aspect of it, however, is a bit different.

Talent is, in a lot of ways, inherent. We are born with a passion and a drive to do certain things. We tend to love those things we are naturally talented at doing. Are we great at them when we first discover them and start applying them? No. We stumble a lot and make mistakes, but our love for it keeps us dedicated. Therefore, over time, we naturally get better. Those who are gifted leaders will naturally be driven to assert themselves into positions of leadership early in life. Sure, they will fumble in the beginning and make mistakes, but their passion for it will keep them focused on mastering their craft.

If someone in a leadership role is not naturally gifted at leading others, their passion may not be great enough to keep them “in the game” when early mistakes are made. They more than likely will get frustrated and seek another avenue to focus their energies. If on the other hand, circumstances such as financial obligations require the less gifted to maintain their leadership roles, they will improve with time. If they work hard and spend the necessary time honing their abilities, regardless of their level of passion, they will get as good as those naturally gifted at leadership. However, if they do not work hard or are not willing or able to invest precious time in self-improvement, they’ll remain average leaders.

Advice for New Leaders

Remember, leadership will come easier for some more than others. To those who have natural skills: never rest on your laurels. Continue to work hard at self-improvement; seek mentorship and advice from others more experienced and be willing to implement what they’ve suggested.

On the other hand, for those who aren’t natural-born leaders: it won’t be easy for you.  Don’t become bitter and discouraged because some of your peers are outpacing you. It will take hard work. But with the right amount of time and effort, you can achieve your goals.

Moreover, find your own style. Don’t try to emulate the style of someone else. Your mentor’s success doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll succeed. The leadership style of one person may work for him, but that doesn’t mean it will work for you. Some people achieve with assertiveness bordering on aggression. Others succeed through quiet collaboration.

Regardless of how you lead, do it with confidence. Confidence comes through mastery. Mastery comes from hard work and time. Sometimes, a person gets a lucky break. He may know the right people, be born into the right family, and have all the necessary talent.  But that’s rare. For the vast majority of leaders, they arrive at their destination only through continual self-improvement that comes through humility, hard work, time, and dedication.