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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a term used to describe a group of conditions that affect the lungs and cause difficulty breathing. This includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD is usually caused by smoking.
What are the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?
The main symptom of COPD is shortness of breath, particularly with minimal exertion. In severe cases, you can find yourself short of breath even when resting. You may also experience coughing, sputum or mucus …
What causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?
Smoking is the leading cause of COPD, but it can also be caused by long-term exposure to certain gases and fumes. These factors can lead to airway inflammation, which can damage the lung and make it more difficult to breathe.
Who gets chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?
People who smoke have the highest risk of developing COPD. People who live or work in areas where there are high levels of air pollution can also develop COPD. Some people have a genetic disorder called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, …
How is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) diagnosed?
To work out if you have COPD, your doctor will give you a physical exam and perform some tests to measure how well your lungs are working. The most common test used to diagnose COPD and its severity is called spirometry. This …
How is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) treated?
There is no cure for COPD, but there are several things that can help to manage the condition and relieve the symptoms. There are several types of medication available to help open up the airways and make it easier to breathe. …
Can chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) be prevented?
The best way to prevent developing COPD is to not smoke. You can also reduce the risk of developing COPD by avoiding second-hand smoke, exposure to air pollution and dusty or smoky environments.
What is an exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?
An exacerbation, or flare-up, of COPD is a period where the symptoms flare up and become worse than usual. Exacerbations can be triggered by respiratory infections, such as the common cold and flu, or by breathing in …
About this article
Author: Dr Joanne Van der Velden PhD, BSc (Hons)
First answered: 18 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.3 out of 5
Votes: 1094 (Click smiley face below left to rate)
Category: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease