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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

COPD Quick Overview

Patient Comments
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a permanent obstruction of the airways that occurs in varying degrees (see stages in this article) manifested in a variety of ways often exhibiting components as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and/or asthma. This obstruction of airflow may be progressive, worsening over time.
  • COPD is most commonly caused by tobacco abuse mainly in the form of primary cigarette smoking. Secondary smoke also may be a contributor.
  • Other causes of COPD include
  • Occupational exposures (for example, coal workers, welders, sensitized cotton and flour workers)
  • Untreated diseases that cause inflammation of the airways, for example, asthma
  • Environmental exposures, especially in the non- industrialized parts of the world where people cook over wood or coal burning stoves
  • Genetic conditions that can result in COPD such as alpha-one antitrypsin deficiency (a genetic condition that can result in COPD)
  • COPD has four stages (I – IV) with stage IV representing severe disease.
  • Risk factors for COPD include tobacco use, (primarily cigarette smoking), asthma, occupational exposure, genetics, and age. As lungs age, some components of COPD, such as emphysema can occur.
  • Symptoms of COPD are primarily
    • shortness of breath,
    • cough,
    • mucus production,
    • wheezing, and
    • chest tightness.
  • Primary care, internists, pulmonologists, infectious disease and surgical specialists are the types of doctors that treat many aspects of COPD.
  • COPD is diagnosed by patient history, examination, and medical tests and exams.
  • Home remedies and treatments that help soothe COPD symptoms include lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation, avoiding lung irritants, managing complications, and making sure you have a healthy eating plan since often a person with COPD because of symptoms such as shortness of breath.
  • Medical treatment for COPD includes medication, current vaccinations against the flu and pneumonia, pulmonary rehabilitation, oxygen therapy, surgery, bullectomy, lung volume reduction surgery, and lung transplant.
  • COPD can be prevented by smoking cessation and avoiding other lung irritants such as air pollution, chemical fumes, dust, and secondhand smoke.
  • The outlook for a person with COPD depends on the stage of the disease with a fair to good prognosis if treated early, but declines steadily as the disease progresses.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/29/2015

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD):

COPD - Diagnosis

How was your COPD diagnosed?

COPD - Medications

What medications have been effective in treating your COPD?

COPD - Home Remedies

What home remedies have been effective in treating your COPD?

COPD - Causes

What caused your COPD?

COPD - Treatment

What was the treatment for your COPD?

COPD - Prognosis

What is your COPD prognosis?

COPD - Experience

Please describe your experience with COPD.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - Symptoms

The symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?

COPD Symptoms

When you have COPD:

  • You have a cough that won't go away.
  • You often cough up mucus.
  • You are often short of breath, especially when you exercise.
  • You may feel tightness in your chest.

SOURCE:
HealthWise. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).


Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease »

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a devastating disorder that causes a huge degree of human suffering.

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