Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

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At the same time, carbon dioxide — a gas that is a waste product of metabolism — is exhaled. Your lungs rely on the natural elasticity of the bronchial tubes and air sacs to force air out of your body.

COPD causes them to lose their elasticity and overexpand, which leaves some air trapped in your lungs when you exhale. Emphysema damages the inner walls of the lungs' air sacs alveoli , causing them to eventually rupture. This creates one larger air space instead of many small ones and reduces the surface area available for gas exchange. Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from your lungs. People who have bronchitis often cough up thickened mucus, which can be discolored. In the vast majority of cases, the lung damage that leads to COPD is caused by long-term cigarette smoking.

But there are likely other factors at play in the development of COPD , such as a genetic susceptibility to the disease, because only about 20 to 30 percent of smokers may develop COPD. Other irritants can cause COPD , including cigar smoke, secondhand smoke, pipe smoke, air pollution and workplace exposure to dust, smoke or fumes.

In about 1 percent of people with COPD , the disease results from a genetic disorder that causes low levels of a protein called alphaantitrypsin. Alphaantitrypsin AAt is made in the liver and secreted into the bloodstream to help protect the lungs.


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Alphaantitrypsin deficiency can affect the liver as well as the lungs. Damage to the lung can occur in infants and children, not only adults with long smoking histories.

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In addition, some people can be treated by replacing the missing AAt protein, which may prevent further damage to the lungs. COPD can cause many complications, including:. Unlike some diseases, COPD has a clear cause and a clear path of prevention. The majority of cases are directly related to cigarette smoking, and the best way to prevent COPD is to never smoke — or to stop smoking now. If you're a longtime smoker, these simple statements may not seem so simple, especially if you've tried quitting — once, twice or many times before.

Understanding COPD

But keep trying to quit. It's critical to find a tobacco cessation program that can help you quit for good. It's your best chance for preventing damage to your lungs. Occupational exposure to chemical fumes and dust is another risk factor for COPD. If you work with this type of lung irritant, talk to your supervisor about the best ways to protect yourself, such as using respiratory protective equipment.

Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission. This content does not have an English version. This content does not have an Arabic version. Overview Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. Request an Appointment at Mayo Clinic. Emphysema Emphysema damages the inner walls of the lungs' air sacs alveoli , causing them to eventually rupture. Bronchitis Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes, which carry air to and from your lungs.

Share on: Facebook Twitter. Other things that may put you at risk for COPD include breathing chemical fumes, dust, or air pollution over a long period of time. Secondhand smoke is also bad. In chronic bronchitis, the airways that carry air to the lungs bronchial tubes get inflamed and make a lot of mucus.

This can narrow or block the airways, making it hard for you to breathe. In emphysema, the air sacs in your lungs are damaged and lose their stretch. Less air gets in and out of your lungs, which makes you feel short of breath. Causes Treatments Types Related Story. Share on Facebook.

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Notice: Users may be experiencing issues with displaying some pages on stanfordhealthcare. We are working closely with our technical teams to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience. New to MyHealth? Manage Your Care From Anywhere. The prevalence the number of cases present in the population at a given time of COPD is difficult to determine from routine health surveys.

Since COPD is formally defined in terms of an abnormality of lung function, accurately estimating the prevalence of the disease requires clinical testing. Overall, the prevalence did not differ significantly between men and women 4. COPD affects an estimated 8. The prevalence of COPD among people both men and women did not differ significantly according to remoteness area. However, the prevalence of COPD was higher in the lowest socioeconomic area compared with those in the highest area men: 8.

COPD can interrupt daily activity, sleep patterns and the ability to exercise.

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People with COPD rate their health worse than people without the condition. People with COPD often have other chronic diseases and long term chronic conditions. See COPD, associated comorbidities and risk factors. This website needs JavaScript enabled in order to work correctly; currently it looks like it is disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use this website as intended.

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International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Print this page Click to open the social media sharing options Share. Last updated: 30 Aug Author: AIHW. View citation formats for this report Citation Close. Vancouver Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Generate PDF View other formats. Enter the email address where you would like the PDF sent. This address will not be used for any other purpose. Please enter your Email address Valid email required. Findings from this report: COPD was the 5th leading cause of death in The main cause of COPD is active smoking or exposure to smoking, however other causes may be involved, such as [3]: smoke from burning fuels of plant or animal origin outdoor air pollution fumes and dust in the workplace childhood respiratory infections chronic asthma.

Who gets COPD? Age-standardised to the Australian Standard Population. COPD occurs mostly in people aged 45 and over.