COPD is a disease that affects millions of people across the world. It actually consists of two separate diseases: chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Chronic bronchitis is when the mid-sized airways in your lungs get inflamed and lead to coughing and excessive mucus for three months or more.
Emphysema destroys the alveoli, the small sacs in the lungs that actually transfer oxygen to the blood. Wheezing is commonly associated with emphysema, but there are many other signs and symptoms.
For many people, COPD is caused by long-term tobacco smoking, though genetics and air pollution can also be factors. Symptoms generally include wheezing, slow breathing, pursed-lip breathing, barrel chest, and a rapid breathing rate.
The severity of COPD can range from mild to very severe and is diagnosed by spirometry, a test that measures lung function. COPD is not curable, but it is treatable. Smoking cessation is generally advised and there are medicines that can relax the airways and make breathing easier. COPD does usually get worse with time (though how fast it gets worse varies greatly).
The site does not give complete information about COPD and the information it does contain may not even apply to your case. For complete information about COPD, you should consult a doctor or a health care professional. The information on this site should not substitute the judgment or knowledge of a health care professional.