Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) describes a group of diseases where airflow in the lungs is limited. COPD is a progressive lung disease and affects millions of people each year. The most familiar diseases in this group are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. A person with COPD may have emphysema or chronic bronchitis; many have both. COPD is diagnosed through a medical and physical exam as well as breathing, oxygen, blood, exercise and other tests.
People with COPD must become active managers of their disease. COPD management includes learning more about COPD, having a healthy lifestyle including diet and exercise, giving up smoking, avoiding infections, taking medications, using oxygen, learning new techniques for breathing and coughing, and following a health action plan.