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.