Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a term used to describe a set of lung diseases that cause respiratory problems by blocking airflow and making it hard to breathe. Diseases associated with COPD include some forms of bronchiectasis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis. It is estimated that over thirty million people in the United States have COPD, but half of them do not know it. The following suggestions may help reduce COPD symptoms and improve breathing.
COPD is a chronic inflammatory lung disease resulting in the obstruction of airflow from the lungs, making it hard to breathe. The two most common types of CODP include chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Both conditions are characterized by damage to the lungs that prevent proper respiratory functioning. Long-term complications of COPD may include heart disease, lung cancer, and several other chronic conditions. COPD is treatable when caught in its early stages by changing lifestyle habits, avoiding certain triggers, and performing special exercises.
People with COPD may experience exacerbations, which are episodes or flares characterized by the worsening of symptoms for several days. Many people live with COPD for several years without knowing it as symptoms sometimes do not appear until later stages of the disease. The main symptoms include a daily cough and mucus production at least three months a year for two years straight. Other symptoms may include chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath, lack of energy, and swelling in the limbs, feet or ankles.