Girl blowing dandelion


COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States.  In 2001 about 13.3 million adults had COPD and about 119,000 adults died from COPD in the year 2000.

What is COPD?

The term COPD is used to describe chronic bronchitis and emphysema.  These two disease often occur together.  Chronic bronchitis typically shows up much earlier in life than emphysema. However, emphysema is much more debilitating than chronic bronchitis.  For more information on each of these diseases, please visit our chronic bronchitis and emphysema sections.

COPD Symptoms

The symptoms for COPD include shortness of breath, productive cough, and decreased ability to do physical activities.

COPD Treatment

The treatment for COPD may be different for each person.  Most COPD treatment plans include the use of bronchodilators in the form of an inhaler or hand held nebulizer.  Steroids are also commonly prescribed for this disease.  Some people will require supplemental oxygen.  Pulmonary Rehabilitation is also a very important therapy to help ease the symptoms of COPD.

COPD Disease Progress

The disease progress is very slow.  There is no cure for COPD and most patients live with this disease for 10 years or longer after they have been diagnosed.  COPD often begins with daily, productive cough as well as frequent respiratory infections such as pneumonia.  As the disease progresses, it becomes more and more difficult to perform daily activities without getting short of breath.