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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary (PULL-mun-ary) disease, is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe. "Progressive" means the disease gets worse over time.

COPD can cause coughing that produces large amounts of mucus (a slimy substance), wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Most people who have COPD smoke or used to smoke. Long-term exposure to other lung irritants—such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust—also may contribute to COPD.



Understanding COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

  • Emphysema: Stages and Life Expectancy
  • Talking with Your Doctor about COPD
  • Talking with Your Doctor about End-of-Life Issues
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (ADAM)
  • COPD - Easy-to-Read (OSU Patient Education Pamphlet)
  • COPD (Medline Plus)
  • COPD Videos (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • Frequently Asked Questions about COPD, Emphysema, and Bronchitis (InteliHealth, Harvard Medical School)
  • Pocket Guide to COPD Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention (Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease)

  • Commonly Asked Questions

  • Can a COPD Patient Recover Fully from an E. Coli Infection in the Lungs?
  • Can I Live in a High Altitude City with COPD?
  • Does PFT Testing Determine Disease Progression in Smokers?
  • How Can a Non-Smoker have Emphysema?
  • How Can I Communicate with My Doctors?
  • How Can I Control COPD?
  • How Do Cortisone and Prednisone Differ?
  • How Do You Measure Lung Health?
  • How Does COPD Cause Death?
  • I'm Active, So Why Was I Diagnosed with COPD?
  • (More)

  • Additional Information

  • Symptoms and Tests
  • Treatment
  • Complications
  • The Body
  • Research Studies
  • Info by Age, Ethnicity, Sex
  • Meet Our Experts

    NetWellness Expert Karen L Wood

    Karen L Wood, MD
    The Ohio State University


    Research and Your Health:
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    Last Updated: Nov 16, 2015