Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a slowly progressive obstruction of airflow into or out of the lungs. The primary cause of COPD is cigarette smoking and/or exposure to tobacco smoke. Other causes include air pollution, infectious diseases and genetic conditions.
The incidence of COPD has almost doubled since 1982. Experts have estimated about 32 million persons in the United States have COPD. The disease occurs slightly more often in men than in women.
COPD symptoms come on slowly and many people are consequently diagnosed after age 40-50, although some are diagnosed at a younger age. Symptoms include cough, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, and wheezing.
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*content referenced from MedTerms.com