What is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

Updated: Nov 13, 2020
  • Author: Paul Kleinschmidt, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Answer

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is estimated to affect 32 million persons in the United States and is the fourth leading cause of death in this country. Patients typically have symptoms of both chronic bronchitis and emphysema, but the classic triad also includes asthma. Most of the time COPD is secondary to tobacco abuse, although cystic fibrosis, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, bronchiectasis, and some rare forms of bullous lung diseases may be causes as well.


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