Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is a progressive disease of the lungs. It is a major cause of disability, and it’s the fourth leading cause of death. Most of the more people that have the disease don’t even know it. There most common forms of COPD are emphysema (pink puffer) and chronic bronchitis (blue bloater) which may coexist.
The main culprit for the development of COPD is cigarette smoking and thus COPD is usually diagnosed in middle-aged. Other less common factors are long-term exposure to irritants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes and dust.The diagnosis of COPD is set with pulmonary function tests and mainly with spirometry.
The main symptoms of COPD are productive cough (producing large amounts of mucus/phlegm/sputum), wheezing, shortness of breath (dyspnea) and chest tightness. As COPD develops slowly, symptoms usually worsen over time and can limit your everyday activities. Severe COPD may prevent you from doing even basic activities like dressing, washing and walking.
COPD has no cure at the time and the damage done is not reversible. However, giving up smoking and adherence to treatments can improve your quality of life. The treatment is mainly with inhaled corticosteroids and bronchodilators as in asthma.