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Learning You Have COPD
Understanding COPD
Living Better With COPD
What We Learned Today

Cigarette smoking

is the leading cause

                  of COPD.


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is an umbrella term that includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or a combination of both lung conditions.


COPD makes it difficult for those who have the condition to empty air from their lungs, causing difficulty breathing.

Chronic Bronchitis

• Coughing, wheezing, and chest discomfort

• Cough that produces mucus or phlegm on most days


• Shortness of breath and wheezing

• Persistent cough and chest discomfort

Helpful Links:

American Thoracic Society

ATS Patient Advisory Roundtable

National Heart Lung & Blood Institute

American Lung Association


  • What causes asthma?
    Genetics: Asthma can be inherited genetically, but you can still develop asthma without a family history of it. Triggers: Asthma may also be caused by triggers such as Allergies If you have allergies, you are more likely to develop asthma. This form of asthma is typical in children, but can develop in adults as well. Common allergens like pollen, cockroach droppings, pet dander and dust mites can cause sneezing, wheezing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose. If your lungs are irritated enough, they may also cause an asthma attack. Respiratory Infections Frequent lung or sinus infections can also lead to asthma. Respiratory infections can trigger longer episodes of wheezing or shortness of breath than episodes caused by allergies. Respiratory viruses, like a cold, are the most common cause of severe asthma attacks. Irritants • Molds and dust • Tobacco smoke from cigarettes, pipes, or cigars • Exhaust fumes from cars, buses, trucks, etc. • Temperature or weather changes • Strong odors from paint, perfumes, colognes, • hair spray, deodorants, and cleaning products • Certain medications • Exercise or stress • Sulfates in foods such as dried fruits, wine and beer
  • How is asthma diagnosed?
    Asthma can be diagnosed with a breathing test administered by your health care provider. If you think you have asthma let your doctor know.
  • How is asthma treated?
    If you are diagnosed with asthma, it's important that you work with your doctor to keep your asthma under control. You and your doctor will write out an Asthma Action Plan that you will follow to treat your asthma symptoms and improve your breathing. A typical action plan will include: • How to take your medications • What you can do in your daily life to avoid triggers • How to monitor your breathing • What to do when you have asthma symptoms You will be prescribed an inhaler or medication to keep your airways open and reduce swelling. The most important thing when it comes to controlling asthma is taking your medication as prescribed by your doctor. When used correctly you should be able to prevent your asthma symptoms.
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