COPD, which stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, refers chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Both of these commonly co-exist as diseases of the lung. This disease is the third leading cause of smoke related death in the US.

With this disease the airways of the lungs are inflated and the air passage becomes narrow. This causes shortness of breath because the airflow to the lungs is limited.

The tobacco smoke triggers an inflammatory response in the lungs. This inflammation in the larger airways is known as chronic bronchitis.


The air sacs found in the lungs, called alveoli, is the primary site for the gas exchange with the blood. The blood gives up the carbon dioxide (CO2) gas and picks up the oxygen to distribute throughout the body. The lung damage and the inflammation in the alveoli causes what is called emphysema.

Anyone who has constant shortness of breath (or difficulty breathing), continuous coughs with or without mucus or phlegm, and a long term exposure to cigarette smoking should definitely have themselves checked out.

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Related Links:
Lung Cancer
Second Hand Smoke
Smokers Lungs