What Is It?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a group of disorders that damage the lungs. These disorders make breathing increasingly difficult over time.
The most common forms of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Both are chronic illnesses that impair airflow in the lungs. Most cases of COPD are related to cigarette smoking.
You are more likely to develop chronic bronchitis if you:
Your breathing may become labored and inefficient. You may feel breathless most of the time.
You are more likely to develop emphysema if you:
Some people have an inherited form of emphysema. The lungs lack a protective protein called alpha-1 antitrypsin. In people with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, lung damage can appear as early as age 30.
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