Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a condition that has previously been described as chronic bronchitis (inflammation and narrowing of the airways) and emphysema (weakening of the structure of the lung).
COPD causes gradual restriction of airflow and consequent difficulty in breathing.
Because of this, shortness of breath, cough and sputum production are common symptoms in COPD.
Although these symptoms can be dealt with, the weakening of the lungs caused by COPD is not fully reversible.
The term “COPD” has not been widely used by physicians or other health professionals and is generally not recognised by the public. However, COPD is a common, costly and preventable disease that has substantial implications for the health of people living in Europe.
COPD is the only leading cause of death that is becoming more common worldwide.