Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a type of lung disease characterized by long-term poor airflow. COPD usually develops slowly and some people may not know that they are ill. Symptoms include coughing, fatigue, repeated respiratory infections, shortness of breath (dyspnea) during mild activity, difficulty catching your breath and wheezing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that over 5 percent of Texans have been diagnosed with COPD.
In the United States and United Kingdom, of those with COPD, 80–95% are either current smokers or previously smoked.The unfortunate reality of COPD is that, for many who have the disease, symptoms don’t begin to appear until significant damage within the lungs has already occurred. Because of this—especially when the patient is unaware and continues to smoke—this can further the damage already inflicted. When breathing becomes difficult and even mild exercise causes shortness of breath and fatigue, it affects almost all our daily activities and the ability to work is severely impaired. COPD makes it difficult to breathe. There are two main forms of COPD: