Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, COPD for short, is a condition in which the lungs have become permanently damaged and the airways are constantly narrowed. This makes it difficult to breathe and is one of the most common lung diseases. People with COPD have a chronic inflammation in the bronchi of their lungs (chronic bronchitis) or the air sacs in their lungs are damaged (emphysema). They often have both at the same time. The first signals and symptoms of COPD are often not considered to be signs of a serious illness. This is because COPD in the early stages hardly affect daily life. Typical symptoms include Daily cough, Coughing up phlegm (mucus), Breathlessness during physical activity, Breathing sounds such as wheezing and rattling, Frequent coughs or cold. Cigarette smoke is the leading cause of COPD. Long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as air pollution or chemical fumes, may also contribute.
When breathing, air travels down your windpipe into airways. The airways branch into smaller, thinner tubes that end in bunches of tiny air sacs. When you have COPD, your lung function is reduced. Airways and air sacs lose their elastic quality. The walls between many of the air sacs are destroyed and the walls of the airways become inflamed.
Smoking is the main cause of COPD. The more a person smokes, the more likely that person will develop COPD. But some people smoke for years and never get COPD. In rare cases, nonsmokers who lack a protein called alpha-1 antitrypsin can develop emphysema. Smoking both marijuana and tobacco increases your risk of COPD. People who smoke both marijuana and tobacco have almost three times the risk of COPD compared with those who don’t smoke. Experts aren’t sure why, but they think smoking marijuana makes it easier for tobacco to damage the lungs. Smokers have more flare-ups than nonsmokers. Flare-ups are the most common reason people have to go to the hospital. Having flare-ups cause your lungs to get worse...
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