Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a group of diseases that restrict airflow and cause trouble breathing. It is a progressive disease which means the disease will get worse over time. Common diseases under the umbrella of COPD include emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Emphysema is caused by damage to the air sacs or alveoli. Once damaged, the walls of the alveoli disappear which makes the sacs become large and traps air in the lungs. Additionally, chronic bronchitis is caused by damage to the bronchial tubes. The bronchial tubes become irritated and swollen which leads to coughing and shortness of breath in the individual.
- Signs and Symptoms
- Persistent coughing or wheezing
- Shortness of breath
- Excess production of mucus, phlegm, or sputum
- Trouble taking deep breaths
- Risk Factors
- Current or former smokers
- Exposure to noxious particles or gases
- Individuals with frequent respiratory infections
- Genetics: A rare genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency can cause COPD.
There is no cure for COPD, but there are various treatment options available to improve the quality of life for those who suffer from it. Treatment options include bronchodilators and steroid medications, pulmonary rehabilitation, supplemental oxygen, or surgery. It is important to note that not everyone with COPD will be a qualifying candidate for these treatment options. Some determining factors include frequency of exacerbations, severity of disease, other medical conditions, and many others. If you suffer from COPD, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis, speak with your medical provider about which treatment options are the best for you.
- Managing COPD
- Smoking cessation
- Regular vaccinations (flu, pneumonia, etc.)
- Proper nutrition
- If and when possible, maintain distance from sick individuals to avoid getting sick yourself
- Using resources like the COPD management app.
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Among Adults in Indiana. (cdc.gov)
- Current Conditions (in.gov)
- Quit Now Indiana or call 1-800-784-8669
- Smoking and COPD | Tips From Former Smokers | CDC
- COPD Action Plan (lung.org) or in Spanish at plan de accin para la copd (lung.org)
- Treating COPD | American Lung Association
- Managing Your COPD Medications | American Lung Association
- Finding COPD Support | American Lung Association
- The COPD Pocket Consultant Guide | Patient & Caregiver Track (copdfoundation.org)
Chronic Respiratory Disease Program