What is COPD?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, also known as COPD, is a lung condition causing inflammation and swelling of the large airways in the lungs creating airflow obstruction making it difficult to empty air out of the lungs. Symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, fatigue, consistent mucus production, coughing and wheezing which leads to a decrease in activity. Common forms of COPD include emphysema, chronic bronchitis or a combination of the two. It is not uncommon for a person with COPD to also be diagnosed with some degree of asthma.

What causes COPD: Many factors can cause COPD including environmental and genetics. However, long-term smoking is the leading cause for the development of COPD. Examples of environmental factors include indoor and outdoor air pollution, volatile chemicals as well as second hand smoke exposure.

Will COPD ever go away? The word chronic in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease means it persists for a long time. There is no cure for COPD, but there is treatment. Symptoms of COPD can improve with proper medications and lifestyle changes, especially quitting smoking. It has been shown that attending pulmonary rehabilitation can further improve symptoms and can be extremely helpful.

Below is a list of common triggers that worsen COPD:

  • Infections
  • Heat and Humidity
  • Exercise
  • Air Pollution (Sun & Ozone)
  • Smoking