What is COPD?

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What is COPD?

COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a condition caused by lung damage, which restricts the airflow. It is often a combination of the following two manifestations.1 Chronic Bronchitis It is the inflammation of the airways that carry oxygen to your lungs, namely the bronchi. This inflammation causes a significant amount of mucus, which can narrow or block the airways, leading to difficulty in breathing.2 Emphysema In a person with emphysema, the alveoli (small air sacs) can be damaged, dilated, narrowed, or collapsed, leading to a decrease in respiratory function. This damage to the sacs is irreversible and results in less air entering and leaving the lungs, causing shortness of breath.3

Symptoms of COPD5

Not everyone with the above symptoms has COPD, and not everyone with COPD has all of the above symptoms. Your doctor is the person who determines if you have COPD. Your doctor will confirm the presence of COPD by performing a spirometry test, which is essential for diagnosis.

Causes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Exposure to irritants that can damage the lungs and airways can lead to COPD. The main cause of the disease is smoking, but non-smokers can also develop COPD.1,6


Exposure to pollution or irritating particles such as wood smoke

Genetic or pulmonary developmental factors

Respiratory conditions or diseases


Although COPD is a chronic disease and has no cure, the action plan is based on monitoring the disease, reducing risk factors, managing symptoms, and crises. In addition to the above, the treatment goals are based on:8 Reducing chronic disease symptoms Decreasing the frequency and severity of exacerbations (crises) Improving the disease prognosis Among the types of medications for COPD, there are: Bronchodilators Inhaled steroids Combination inhalers Oral steroids In addition to medication, your doctor might:
Ensure your vaccination schedule Oxygen therapy

CC-9061 / MAR 2025

1. GOLD (2022) GLOBAL STRATEGY FOR PREVENTION, DIAGNOSIS AND MANAGEMENT OF COPD: 2022 Report. https://goldcopd.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/GOLD-REPORT-2022-v1.1-22Nov2021_WMV.pdf

2. Sociedad Española de Medicina Interna. (2019). Bronquitis crónica y aguda. Retrieved from SEMI: https://www.fesemi.org/informacion-pacientes/conozca-mejor-su-enfermedad/bronquitis-cronica-y-aguda

3. University of Rochester Medical Center. (2019). Enfiema Pulmonar. Retrieved from URMC: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=85&ContentID=P 04409

4. Juan González del Castillo et al., “Manejo integral del paciente con exacerbación aguda de la enfermedad pulmonar de obstrucción crónica”. Revista Española de Quimioterapia 31, nº 5 (2018):461-484. PMCID: PMC6194861

6. American Lung Association. (2018, marzo). What causaes COPD. Retrieved from https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/symptoms-causes-risk-factors/what-causes-copd.html

7. Lung Institute . (2019). COPD. Retrieved from https://lunginstitute.com/lung-diseases/copd/

8. Miravitlles, M., Soler-Cataluña, J., Calle, M., Molina, J., Almagro, P., Quintano, J., . . . Ancochea, J. (2012). Guía Española de la EPOC (GesEPOC). Tratamiento farmacológico de la EPOC estable. Archivos de Bronconeumología, 48(7), 247-257

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