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

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
  • Your lips or fingernails turn blue or gray with exertion
  • Your mental alertness is affected

Types of COPD

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

Emphysema is a lung condition characterized by shortness of breath due to damaged air sacs in the lungs. The lung sacs don’t work properly as air is leaving the lungs, leaving no room for new air to enter the lungs.

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.

Lung specialists at UM Capital Region Health can help you effectively manage COPD.

Call 240-677-3000 to schedule an appointment.