COPD; Chronic obstructive airways disease; Chronic obstructive lung disease; Chronic bronchitis; Emphysema; Bronchitis - chronic
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common lung disease. Having COPD makes it hard to breathe.
There are two main forms of COPD:
- Chronic bronchitis, which involves a long-term cough with mucus
- Emphysema, which involves damage to the lungs over time
Most people with COPD have a combination of both conditions.
You can ease the stress of illness by joining a support group. Sharing with others who have common experiences and problems can help you not feel alone.
COPD is a long-term (chronic) illness. The disease will get worse more quickly if you do not stop smoking.
If you have severe COPD, you will be short of breath with most activities. You may be admitted to the hospital more often.
Talk with your provider about breathing machines and end-of-life care as the disease progresses.
With COPD, you may have other health problems such as:
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if you have a rapid increase in shortness of breath.
Not smoking prevents most COPD. Ask your provider about quit-smoking programs. Medicines are also available to help you stop smoking.
Anderson B, Conner K, Dunn C, et al. Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement. Diagnosis and management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 10th edition. www.icsi.org/_asset/yw83gh/COPD.pdf. Updated January 2016.
Accessed July 18, 2017.
Celli BR, Zuwallack RL. Pulmonary rehabilitation. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 105.
Criner GJ, Bourbeau J, Diekemper RL, et al. Prevention of acute exacerbations of COPD: American College of Chest Physicians and Canadian Thoracic Society guideline. Chest. 2015;147(4):894-942. PMID: 25321320 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25321320.
Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) website. Global strategy for the diagnosis, management, and prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: 2017 report. goldcopd.org/gold-2017-global-strategy-diagnosis-management-prevention-copd/. Accessed July 18, 2017.
Han MK, Lazarus SC. COPD: clinical diagnosis and management. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 44.