Other Names for COPD
- Chronic obstructive airway disease
- Chronic obstructive lung disease
In the United States, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) includes:
- Chronic bronchitis
In the emphysema type of COPD, the walls between many of the air sacs are destroyed, leading to a few large air sacs instead of many tiny ones, Consequently, the lung looks like a sponge with many large bubbles or holes in it, instead of a sponge with very tiny holes. The large air sacs have less surface area for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide than healthy air sacs. Poor exchange of the oxygen and carbon dioxide causes shortness of breath.
In chronic bronchitis, the airways have become inflamed and thickened, and there is an increase in the number and size of mucus-producing cells. This results in excessive mucus production, which in turn contributes to cough and difficulty getting air in and out of the lungs.
Most people with COPD have both chronic bronchitis and emphysema.