Understanding My COPD
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic, progressive lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. People with COPD can have chronic bronchitis and/or emphysema.
Common signs and symptoms of COPD include:
- Shortness of breath
- Constant cough
- Excess mucus production
- Chest tightness
Airway with COPD
Components of COPD
In chronic bronchitis, your breathing tubes (bronchial airways) inside your lungs become inflamed and produce too much phlegm. This makes it harder for your body to clear away mucus and leads to persistent coughing. Your airways then become swollen and clogged. Chronic bronchitis is a major symptom of COPD.
In emphysema, the air sacs in your lungs become damaged. This in turn stretches your lung walls, making it harder to move air in and out. It becomes harder to get oxygen in and carbon dioxide (the waste product of your breathing) out. Emphysema is another leading symptom of COPD.
Stages of COPD
COPD gets worse over time and has 4 stages of severity (mild, moderate, severe, and very severe). Symptoms and quality of life can improve with medication such as maintenance inhalers.
In the United States COPD is the
3rd LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH
due to Disease
15 MILLION ◼
Americans have been diagnosed with COPD
12 MILLION ◼
Americans remain undiagnosed