Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name given to a group of lung diseases that make breathing difficult and uncomfortable. These diseases are often caused by smoking or inhaling fumes and other pollutants.
The two main types of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. If you have COPD, you are likely to have both of these conditions. COPD can get worse over with time, which is why early diagnosis and treatment are critical.
With COPD, it’s hard for air to flow into and out of the air sacs in your lungs. Normally, these air sacs inflate and deflate easily, like a balloon. However, if you have COPD, these air sacs can fill with mucus, get inflamed and experience other types of damage.
In the early stages of COPD, you might not have any symptoms. But the longer you have the disease, you might develop:
You may also get sick with respiratory illnesses, such as cold and flu, on a regular basis. As COPD worsens, you can also develop swelling and weakness in your legs and feet, as well as weight loss.
After a pulmonologist determines you have COPD, he or she will develop a treatment plan designed for you. Treatments can include:
If you have a very severe case of COPD, a lung transplant might be necessary.