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    Health    COPD

    COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) makes it hard for you to breathe. The two main types are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The main cause of COPD is long-term exposure to substances that irritate and damage the lungs. This is usually cigarette smoke. Air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust can also cause it.

    At first, COPD may cause no symptoms or only mild symptoms. As the disease gets worse, symptoms usually become more severe. They include

    • A cough that produces a lot of mucus
    • Shortness of breath, especially with physical activity
    • Wheezing
    • Chest tightness

    Doctors use lung function tests, imaging tests, and blood tests to diagnose COPD. There is no cure. Treatments may relieve symptoms. They include medicines, oxygen therapy, surgery, or a lung transplant. Quitting smoking is the most important step you can take to treat COPD.

    NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

    Symptoms of COPD

    The following features are indicative of COPD:
    • cough
    • shortness of breath
    • wheezing
    • chest tightness
    • mucus production
    • colds
    • flu
    • swelling in the ankles, feet, or legs
    • weight loss
    • lower muscle endurance
    • blueness of the lips or fingernail beds
    • fast heartbeat
    It is possible that COPD shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.
    References: 1

    Common Causes of COPD

    The following are the most common causes of COPD:
    • cigarette smoking
    • long-term exposure to lung irritants
    • tobacco smoking
    • genetic factors
    • environmental factors
    References: 2

    Risk Factors of COPD

    The following factors may increase the likelihood of COPD:
    • heavy smoking
    • family history of respiratory disorders
    • long-term exposure to other lung irritants
    • genetic condition known as alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency

    Prevention of COPD

    Yes, it may be possible to prevent COPD. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
    • avoid smoking
    • avoid exposure to lung irritants
    References: 1

    Occurrence of COPD.

    Degree of Occurrence

    The following are number of COPD cases seen each year worldwide:
    • Very common > 10 Million cases

    Common Age Group

    COPD most commonly occurs in the following age group:
    • Aged > 40 years

    Common Gender

    COPD most commonly occurs in the following gender:
    • Not gender specific
    References: 3

    Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of COPD

    The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect COPD:
    • Spirometry: To measures the amount of airflow obstruction present
    • Lung function tests: To measure the amount of air inhaled and exhaled
    • Chest x-ray: To view the signs of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
    • Arterial blood gas test: To calculate the oxygen level in the blood
    References: 1, 4, 5

    Doctor for Diagnosis of COPD:

    Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of COPD:
    • Pulmonary specialists
    • Physician

    Complications of COPD if Untreated

    Yes, COPD causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if COPD is left untreated:
    • difficulty in walking
    • unable to work
    • memory loss
    • chronic diseases
    • depression
    • mental conditions
    • respiratory infections
    • heart problems
    • lung cancer
    References: 5, 6

    Procedures for Treatment of COPD

    The following procedures are used to treat COPD:
    • Oxygen therapy: To improve quality of life and is the only COPD therapy proven to extend life
    • Surgery: To remove small wedges of damaged lung tissue from the upper lungs and to remove bullae from the lungs to help improve air flow
    • Lung transplant: To improve ability to breathe and to be active
    References: 7

    Self-care for COPD

    The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of COPD:
    • Control your breathing: Helps breathing more efficiently throughout the day
    • Exercise regularly: Help improve overall strength and endurance and strengthen respiratory muscles
    • Eat healthy foods: To help maintain strength
    • Avoid smoke and air pollution: To protect lungs from further damage
    References: 7

    Patient Support for Treatment of COPD

    The following actions may help COPD patients:
    • Family support: Sharing fears and feelings helps reduce stress
    • Join support group: Helps relieve stress
    References: 7

    Time for Treatment of COPD

    While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for COPD to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
    • More than 1 year
    References: 8

    Questions - COPD

    News, Updates and Latest Articles - COPD

    Latest news and updates related to COPD. Subscribe to get latest posts via email or subscribe to a RSS feed.

    COPD May Not Affect Survival in Patients With Small Cell Lung Cancer

    Friday, August 17, 2018 -- There is a lack of data assessing the impact of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder on mortality in small cell lung cancer.

    Study finds role of autoimmunity in development of COPD

    Friday, August 17, 2018 -- Autoimmunity plays a role in the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a study led by Georgia State University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center that analyzed human genome information stored in Vanderbilt's DNA biobank.

    Childhood Smoke Exposure Tied to Early COPD Death

    Thursday, August 16, 2018 -- (MedPage Today) -- Adult exposure also linked to increased all-cause mortality in never-smokers

    More than 40 percent of women with asthma may develop COPD

    Tuesday, August 14, 2018 -- "Previous studies have found an alarming rise in ACOS in women in recent years and that the mortality rate from ACOS was higher in women," said Prof To... The post More than 40 percent of women with...

    Direct-to-Consumer Asthma and COPD Solution Launched in U.S.

    Tuesday, August 14, 2018 -- NewsHailie solution gives patients access through a smartphone app and sensor that attaches to prescription inhaler medication. Staff Author: Mike BottaTopics: Enterprise Technology


    1. NIH What Is COPD? - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    2. NIH What Causes COPD? - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    3. Wikipedia Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    4. Mayo Clinic COPD - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    5. CDC Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    6. Mayo Clinic COPD - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    7. Mayo Clinic COPD - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    8. Donaldson GC, Law M, Kowlessar B, et al. Impact of Prolonged Exacerbation Recovery in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2015;192(8):943-50 - Accessed: February 20, 2017.
    9. Source:

    Last updated date

    This page was last updated on 8/03/2018.
    This page provides information for COPD.