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Consumer Health: Treating COPD

Laurel Kelly, Mayo Clinic News Network on

Published in Health & Fitness

COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a leading cause of disability and death in the U.S., according to the American Lung Association. More than 12.5 million people have been diagnosed with COPD, but millions more may have the disease without knowing it.

COPD is a chronic inflammatory lung disease caused by long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter, most often from cigarette smoke. People with COPD are at increased risk of developing respiratory infections, heart disease, lung cancer, pulmonary hypertension and depression. Also, if you have a chronic lung disease such as COPD, you may be at greater risk of severe illness and complications from COVID-19.

Symptoms of COPD often don't appear until significant lung damage has occurred, and they usually worsen over time, particularly if cigarette smoke exposure continues.

Signs and symptoms of COPD can include:

--Shortness of breath.

-- Wheezing.

 

-- Chest tightness.

-- Chronic cough that may produce clear, white, yellow or green mucus.

-- Frequent respiratory infections.

-- Lack of energy.

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