COPD / Emphysema
Chronic obstructive lung disease is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe. We use the term “progressive” meaning it worsens over time. COPD causes an increased production of sputum which, in turn, results in intermittent bronchitis, chest tightness and recurrent infection with prolonged and intermittent episodes of cough.
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Most people who have COPD are currently smokers or used to smoke. Long-term exposure to other lung irritants—such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust—also may contribute to COPD.
In COPD, less air flows in and out of the airways because of one or more of the following:
- The airways and air sacs lose their elastic quality.
- The walls between many of the air sacs are destroyed.
- The walls of the airways become thick and inflamed.
If you have ever smoked and quit, you are at risk of developing this disease and screening is recommended.