What is COPD?

COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It affects nearly 11 million people in the United States and because of this, it is the third leading cause of death by disease. While 11 million people have been diagnosed with this disease, there are likely millions of other people that have the disease that does not know it. If you have ever had difficulty breathing you should ask your doctor about the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


What is COPD?


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is when a person has two long term illnesses, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema typically occur together and these diseases make it difficult for a person to breath. The airways that carry air to and from your lungs become partially blocked from built-up mucus and occasional swelling when a person has COPD. This is what makes it difficult for a person to breathe.


What Causes Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?


This disease is typically caused by cigarette smoke. Whether you smoke or hang out with people that smoke it is common for people to get this disease at some point during their lives. Other factors that may contribute to getting this disease include dust, pollution, and chemicals. On rare occasions, this disease is also linked to genetics, but expose to the other things can make this disease set on faster and get more serious.


Determining If You Have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease


It is impossible to self diagnose this disease and if you think you may have you need to see your doctor to explain the symptoms you are feeling. Common symptoms associated with this disease include a persistent cough, a cough that contains mucus, difficulty breathing, wheezing, and a tight chest. Your doctor will give you a series of breathing tests to determine if you have a disease or another type of lung disease. Your doctor will also ask you about your history of chronic bronchitis and emphysema. During these tests, he or she will determine if your lungs are having difficulty holding and exhaling air.


Living with This Lung Disease


Living with the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can be a challenge since it affects your ability to breath, however, there are some things that you can do to make your life easier. The first thing you must do is to try and determine the cause of your chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. For example, if you are a smoker and then find yourself diagnosed with this disease, the first thing you must do is quit smoking. You and your doctor should create a management plan that you can use daily to cope with the challenges that this lung disease presents. You should track your medications, visit doctors more frequently, eat healthier, and exercise more often to help you live longer with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. If you find yourself struggling with your diagnosis you can always find support groups, talk with friends and family, and ask your doctor for suggestions about coping both emotionally and physically.