Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Alternative Names

COPD; Chronic obstructive airways disease; Chronic obstructive lung disease; Chronic bronchitis; Emphysema; Bronchitis – chronic

Definition of Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the most common lung diseases. It makes it difficult to breathe. There are two main forms of COPD:

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Smoking is the leading cause of COPD. The more a person smokes, the more likely that person will develop COPD although some people smoke for years and never get COPD.

Signs and tests

The best test for COPD is a simple lung function test called spirometry. This involves blowing out as hard as one can into a small machine that tests lung capacity. The test can be interpreted immediately and does not involve exercising, drawing blood, or exposure to radiation.

Treatment

There is no cure for COPD. However, there are many things you can do to relieve symptoms and keep the disease from getting worse.

Expectations (prognosis)

This condition is a long-term (chronic) illness. The disease will get worse more quickly if one continues to smoke.

Review

Andrew Schriber, MD, FCCP, Specialist in Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, Virtua Memorial Hospital, Mount Holly, New Jersey. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 10/9/2009

Spirometry
Emphysema
Bronchitis
Quitting smoking
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder)
Smoking and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder)
Respiratory system

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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