The most common cause of COPD is smoking. Smoke can damage the lungs forever and cause COPD. People can also get COPD from breathing in toxic fumes or gases. In rare cases, COPD is caused by a genetic problem. A blood test can check for this.
At first, COPD often causes no symptoms. As it gets worse it can make you:
People who have COPD are also at increased risk for:
Yes. Your doctor or nurse can give you a test called "spirometry" to check for COPD. During spirometry, you take a deep breath and then blow out as fast and hard as you can into a tube. A machine connected to the tube measures how much air you can blow out of your lungs and how fast you can blow. If the results of your spirometry are not normal, you will get a medicine in an inhaler to see if your breathing gets better. Then after a few minutes, you will repeat the spirometry. This will help the doctor or nurse find out if your problem is caused by COPD or another lung problem, such as asthma. People with asthma usually get normal results after they use an inhaler. People with COPD do not.
Your doctor might order other tests, too. These can check to see if other problems besides COPD might be causing your symptoms. They can also look for some of the problems that COPD can lead to. Tests you might get include:
Yes. Here are 2 important things you should do:
There are 4 main types of treatment for COPD:
Also rarely, doctors will place small "endobronchial valves" in the damaged airways. This can help the healthier parts of the lungs work better. The valves are placed using a thin tube that goes down your throat, called a "bronchoscope."