COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, a condition characterized by an obstruction of the airways that interferes with normal breathing. Cigarette smoke is the main cause of this disease.
Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are the two most common conditions of COPD:
- chronic bronchitis is the inflammation of the tissue lining the bronchi, i.e. the structures that are responsible for transporting air to and from the lungs.
- emphysema is a degeneration of the structure of the pulmonary alveoli, which are gradually destroyed. Lung damage caused by COPD is not reversible, but treatment can help control symptoms and slow down disease progression.