Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a long-term lung disease. COPD makes it difficult to move air in and out of the lungs. It will make breathing difficult. COPD includes:

The changes to lung tissue differ with the two diseases. However, they often occur together. The causes and treatment of each condition are similar.

Normal and Emphysemic Lung
Normal Lung and Emphysemic Lung
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COPD is caused by damage to the lungs. This damage is caused by:

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Inhaling toxins or other irritants
  • Genetic predisposition that makes the lungs more vulnerable to damage from smoke or pollutants—includes alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency