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This information was reviewed and approved by Russell P. Bowler, MD, PhD, Irina Petrache, MD (2/28/2021).

"Chronic" means long term, "obstructive" means it is hard to get air in and out of the lungs.

The most familiar diseases in this group are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. A person with COPD may have either emphysema or chronic bronchitis, but many have both. Some people with COPD may also have asthma.

COPD is often associated with other parts of the body. A person with COPD may also have:

  • Heart disease
  • Muscle weakness or deconditioning
  • Trouble swallowing or GE reflux
  • Obesity or weight loss
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sleep apnea or sleep issues
  • Sinusitis
  • Memory issues or depression.

A person with COPD is at higher risk for lung cancer. At National Jewish Health. your health care provider will evaluate these problems as part of managing your COPD.


Alpha-1 Antitrypsin

When Alpha-1 affects the lungs, it can cause COPD. Learn more.

For more than 100 years, National Jewish Health has been committed to finding new treatments and cures for diseases. Search our clinical trials.