Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic respiratory condition that affects the lungs and makes it difficult to breathe. COPD is often caused by long-term exposure to irritants, such as cigarette smoke or air pollution. The two main types of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Chronic bronchitis is a condition in which the lining of the bronchial tubes become inflamed, causing a persistent cough and increased production of mucus. This can make it difficult to breathe, and can also increase the risk of respiratory infections.
Emphysema is a condition in which the air sacs in the lungs become damaged and lose their elasticity, making it difficult to exhale air. This can lead to shortness of breath and wheezing.
Symptoms of COPD can include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. These symptoms may be worse during physical activity or exposure to irritants. COPD is a progressive disease, which means that symptoms usually worsen over time.
Treatment for COPD may include medications to open the airways and reduce inflammation, as well as pulmonary rehabilitation to improve breathing and physical function. In severe cases, oxygen therapy or surgery may be necessary. Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to irritants, can also help manage symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.