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What is COPD?

COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is a long-term lung disease that makes it difficult for air to move into and out of the lungs.

COPD is used to describe a few lung diseases with similar symptoms that make breathing difficult: the most common are chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Many people with COPD have both chronic bronchitis and emphysema. In the majority of cases, COPD is caused by cigarette smoking. Shortness of breath (or a "need for air"), increased mucous and coughing are symptoms that are frequently seen in people with COPD. Some people even say that it feels like they're breathing through a straw.