What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease COPD)?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a long-term disease of the lungs which causes shortness of breath.

Previously referred to as Emphysema, Chronic Bronchitis or Chronic Asthma, COPD is usually caused by a history of heavy smoking although similar lung changes can occur in pipe smokers, marijuana smokers and people exposed to heavy smoke or industrial fumes from other causes over many decades.  COPD tends gets worse with continued smoking and infections.

While there is no cure for COPD, there are things you can do to breathe easier and improve your quality of life particularly if it is identified and managed early.

COPD is diagnosed using spirometry testing to assess your lung function capacity.  Dr Steinfort uses spiromentry testing in his practice and through the Lung function Laboratory in University Hospital.

The most important thing about treating COPD is to firstly stop smoking.  Once you stop smoking, the rate of decline of lung function slows dramatically.

Many inhaler medications can also help open the airways and allow increased exercise capacity by reducing airway resistance over time.