Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a condition which makes breathing difficulty and causes a long-lasting obstruction of the airways. The disease has a slow, progressive course and is irreversible. People with COPD can suffer from bronchiectasis and chronic asthma. COPD is characterized by occasional sudden worsening of symptoms called acute exacerbations, most of which are caused by infections or air pollution. Smoking accounts for about 90% cases of COPD. Men are more likely to have COPD than women. COPD predominantly occurs in those over 40 years of age.
• Chronic bronchitis - it causes swelling and thickening of the bronchial walls and inflammation of the lining of the airways which leads to narrowing and obstruction of the airways and is diagnosed clinically when people cough up sputum.
• Emphysema - The destruction of the alveolar walls can lead to reduction in the elasticity of the lungs. This causes obstruction of the airflow out of alveoli, which interferes with the exchange of gases within the lungs.
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