Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a long-term, progressive lung disease that makes breathing difficult. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are types of COPD. In 2004, about 64 million people around the world were living with COPD.
Risk factors for COPD include:
• smoking or secondhand smoke
• lung irritants like chemical fumes
• family history, with the AATD gene being linked to COPD
• history of respiratory infections as a child
There’s no cure for COPD, but its progression can be slowed with medication. The best ways to prevent COPD are to stop smoking and to avoid secondhand smoke and other lung irritants. If you experience any COPD symptoms, getting treatment as soon as possible increases your outlook.