Often, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is diagnosed in people who have smoked cigarettes. Other causes such as air pollution and exposure to irritants at work may play a role, especially when combined with cigarette smoking. If you have signs of COPD, talk to your Banner Health doctor about getting the care and support you need to breathe easier.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is not a single disease. It’s a term used to describe several lung diseases, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Chronic bronchitis is a long-term inflammation of the bronchi (the breathing passages in the lungs). As a result, the body produces more mucus. This can cause breathing problems, frequent coughing and infections.
Emphysema is a condition in which alveoli (the air sacs in the lungs) are collapsed, stretched or ineffective for some other reason. This can lead to shortness of breath. This damage can’t be undone.