Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease. The main symptom of COPD is an inability to breathe in and out properly. This is also referred to as airflow obstruction.
Airflow obstruction is caused by long-term damage to the lungs, usually as a result of smoking.
How common is COPD?
COPD is one of the most common respiratory diseases in the UK. It usually affects people who are over 40 years of age.
Around 900,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed with COPD, but it is thought that the actual figure is much higher. This is because many people who develop the symptoms of COPD do not seek medical attention.
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