Multiple: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

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Multiple: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a progressive (gets worse over time) lung disorder of adults that includes emphysema and chronic (long-term) bronchitis. COPD is also called chronic obstructive airway disease (COAD) or chronic obstructive lung disease (COLD). COPD is characterized by a narrowing of the patient's airway that limits the flow of air to the lungs and causes shortness of breath, coughing, and tiredness. Unlike asthma, however, the partial closure of the airway in COPD is not usually reversible.

COPD is the sixth leading cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. It is expected to become the third leading cause of death by 2020 because of an increase in the number of smokers in most countries. Smoking accounts for 80–90 percent of cases in the United States, where COPD is the fourth leading cause of death as of 2008. Most of the remaining cases are caused by occupational exposure to dust produced in cotton weaving, gold mining, or coal mining, or by air pollution in large cities.

Anyone over forty who has trouble breathing, chronic coughing, sputum production, and a history of smoking or other risk factors should be examined by their doctor for COPD.

SEE ALSO Bronchitis; Emphysema; Smoking

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Multiple: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

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