Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, more commonly known as COPD, is not new but the label is. It is a new category of illnesses that people have been dealing with for ages. It is an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and refractory (non-reversible) asthma.
Most individuals also experience difficulty breathing during daily tasks, yard work, exercise, or in some cases when they are doing something very simple. This loss of air can be a direct result of COPD and if you are experiencing this symptom it is advisable to see your doctor at once.
COPD is a progressive and (currently) incurable disease, but with the right diagnosis and treatment, there are many things you can do to manage your COPD and breathe better. People can live for many years with COPD and enjoy life.
Signs and Symptoms
- Increased shortness of breath
- Frequent coughing (with and without mucus)
- Increased breathlessness
- Tightness in the chest
When you breath in the air goes through your main airways all the way to small tubes at the end. When the air gets to the air sacs at the end they are supposed to inflate like balloons. You breathe in the springy little sacs will fill up and when you breathe out they deflate again.
In a person with COPD these airways and sacs become like stretched out rubber bands. They lose their shape and become floppy which makes them less likely to function fully.