To the Editor,

What is COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)?

Emphysema

Chronic Bronchitis

Refractory No-Reversible Asthma

This disease is characterized by increasing breathlessness.

Terms:

Chronic: This means that the disease is frequent, lasts a long time, and is always present in some form.

While the symptoms may take years to develop and the severity may differ at times, there is still much one can do to slow the progress of the disease.

Obstructive: The ability to move air flow in and out of the lungs is blocked or obstructed. This is caused by swelling and excess mucus in the lung airways.

Pulmonary: This means that the disease is located in the lungs.

Disease: The lungs have some damage. Even though a cure has not been found yet, the symptoms can be treated.

COPD can be caused by breathing in lung irritants via sources such as smoking, smoke and fumes in some workplaces, chemical fumes, long-term exposure to dust, etc. The most common cause of COPD is smoking. About 80-90 percent of people who have COPD smoked for most of their lives.

In some cases, COPD can be genetically passed from parents who were infected with the disease at the time of conception.

Getting tested is a simple breathing test called Spirometry (spy-ROM-uh-tree). This test can determine if the disease is present and at what level.

COPD is also one of the leading causes of disability in the U.S.

COPD usually occurs in people 40 years of age and increases in the over 60 group.

Thank you,

Carl Mullins, Waxahachie