Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of lung diseases that block airflow making it difficult to breathe. These diseases are usually caused by long-term exposure to cigarette smoke and other irritants.

At the Lung Center at UM BWMC in Glen Burnie, our lung specialists can help you effectively manage COPD.

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COPD Symptoms

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Cough
  • Mucus production
  • Wheezing

It is important to see a doctor if:

  • You’ve had unexplained shortness of breath for several months, especially if it is getting worse
  • The shortness of breath interferes with daily activities
  • The shortness of breath prevents stair climbing
  • Lips or fingernails turn blue or gray with exertion
  • Mental alertness is affected

Types of COPD

Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two most common conditions that contribute to COPD.


Emphysema is a lung condition characterized by shortness of breath due to damaged air sacs in the lungs (alveoli).

In patients with emphysema, the lung sacs don’t work properly as air is leaving the lungs. And the old air gets trapped, leaving no room for new air to enter the lungs.

Chronic Bronchitis

Most people who have emphysema also have chronic bronchitis, which is inflammation in the bronchial tubes (tubes that carry air to your lungs). The shortness of breath usually comes on gradually.

Patient Education for COPD 

  • About COPD
  • COPD Symptoms and Triggers
  • COPD Treatment
  • Support and Resources
  • Find a Lung Specialist