Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a group of diseases -- including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and asthma -- that cause airflow blockage and breathing problems. Symptoms include wheezing and shortness of breath. Tobacco use is a key factor in the development and progression of this disorder. Therefore, avoiding tobacco smoke and other air pollutants is critical in treating it. Antibiotics, supplemental oxygen, and lung surgeries may also be used.
What Is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems. It includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and, in some cases, asthma.
In the United States, tobacco use is a key factor in the development and progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. However, asthma, exposure to air pollutants in the home and workplace, genetic factors, and respiratory infections also play a role. In the developing world, indoor air quality is thought to play a larger role in the development and progression of the disease than it does in the United States.
Symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease symptoms typically include:
- Shortness of breath
Often, symptoms may suddenly get worse. The severity depends on how much of the lung has been destroyed; if you continue to smoke, the lung destruction is faster than if you stop smoking.