Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of progressive lung diseases that obstruct airflow and make it hard to breathe.
More than 15.3 million people in the U.S. suffer from COPD, according to the American Lung Association. An estimated 366,900 adults in the state of New Jersey have been diagnosed with COPD.
So what causes COPD? Over time, exposure to irritants that damage your lungs and airways can lead to COPD. Most cases of COPD are caused by tobacco smoking (cigarettes, pipes, cigars, etc.) and secondhand smoke. Long-term exposure to chemical irritants, dust or fumes can also lead to COPD.
Early symptoms of COPD may be mild and go unnoticed. As it progresses, symptoms may worsen and make it even more difficult to breathe.
Symptoms of COPD can be different for each person, but the most common symptoms are:
> Shortness of breath
> Frequent coughing (with and without mucus)
> Increased breathlessness
> Tightness in the chest
COPD is a progressive and currently incurable disease, but with the right diagnosis and treatment, there are many things you can do to manage your COPD and breathe better.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms outlined above, or are worried about your lung health, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Click here to find a healthcare provider.