Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Side Bar

David Williams

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an inflammatory disease that obstructs airflow to the lungs. It is caused by long-term exposure to irritating gases, particulate matter and fumes, such as cigarette smoke.

Symptoms of COPD, which do not appear until lung damage has already occurred, include:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Difficulty with physical activity

  • Coughing

  • Chest tightness

  • Excess mucus in your lungs (needing to clear your throat first thing in the morning)

  • Chronic cough producing clear, yellow, green or white mucus.

  • Blueness of lips or fingernail beds

  • Frequent respiratory infections

  • Lack of energy

  • Unexpected weight loss

  • Swelling in ankles, legs or feet

Occupational exposure to chemical fumes and dust can also lead to COPD. This can be prevented by wearing protective respiratory equipment. While there is no cure, COPD is treatable and preventable. Since a majority of cases are linked to cigarette smoking, the most effective way to avoid COPD is to never smoke or stop smoking now.