Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Basics

Over 12 million people have been diagnosed with COPD--and about 12 million more don't know they have it. This lung disease, which makes breathing difficult, is usally caused by smoking. If you’ve been diagnosed with COPD, it’s important to understand what kind of lifestyle changes you should make and to learn strategies to help you cope with living with the disease. Though COPD can’t be cured, it can be effectively treated to reduce symptoms and improve your quality of life. 

Learn About COPD

Bodies in Motion: The Path of COPD

This interactive tool uses high quality, 3-D medical imagery to show how COPD can affect your lungs over time.

Am I at Risk?

Although COPD develops slowly, it usually worsens over time. Early prevention can be key.

COPD Life Expectancy

One question many people who have COPD worry about—but are often too afraid to ask—is: how long can I live with COPD?

Understanding Chronic Bronchitis

Because many people who develop chronic bronchitis are smokers, some with the condition assume that they just have “smoker’s cough.” However, a persistent cough may belie a more serious problem.

COPD and You

Taking the right steps to manage your symptoms, lifestyle, and emotions can lead to a more active and satisfying life.

Learn How the Lungs Work

The lungs are the central component of the respiratory system, and are the center of COPD and related issues.

COPD Symptoms

COPD symptoms are usually slow to develop and often don’t appear until significant damage has occurred.

COPD Tests and Diagnosis

Diagnosing COPD consists of a thorough review of symptoms, breathing tests, blood tests, and a chest x-ray.

COPD Prevention

COPD is one of the few diseases that is almost fully preventable. The first step in preventing COPD is never to smoke.

COPD Complications

Lung damage from by COPD can lead to other complications, such as heart attack, stroke, and lung cancer.

History of COPD

Physicians have been tracking the symptoms of COPD for around 200 years.


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