What is COPD?

If you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), you are not alone.

In 2014, MORE THAN 15 MILLION
people were identified as having COPD.
Millions more suffer from COPD, but have not been diagnosed and are not being treated.

How does COPD make it so hard to breathe? COPD is a progressive disease. “Progressive” means that it gets worse over time. When you have COPD, the airways of the lungs may become inflamed, making them narrow. They can become clogged with mucus, which is produced more than normal in COPD. This makes it difficult to get air in and out of the lungs, and can lead to breathing difficulties.

Living with COPD

COPD develops over time, typically due to long-term exposure of the lungs to cigarette smoke or other environmental irritants. When you have COPD, you may have one or both of the conditions that make up the disease—chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

CHRONIC BRONCHITIS

In chronic bronchitis, damage to your airways causes the linings of the airways to become inflamed, and thicken. Your airways may also make more mucus than normal. This can lead to persistent coughing as your body tries to get rid of the extra mucus.

EMPHYSEMA

In emphysema, some of the walls of the air sacs in your lungs are damaged, leading to less flexible sacs, which means less oxygen from the air you breathe.

SYMPTOMS OF COPD CAN BEGIN TO SHOW
AS EARLY AS AGE 40.

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