Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a slowly progressive disease of the airways that is characterized by a gradual loss of lung function. The term COPD is used to describe two related lung diseases: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Chronic bronchitis is inflammation and eventual scarring of the bronchi (airway tubes). Emphysema is enlargement and destruction of the alveoli (air sacs) within the lungs. Many persons with COPD have both of these conditions.

The symptoms of COPD can range from chronic cough and sputum productions to severe shortness of breath.

The diagnosis of COPD is confirmed by the presence of airway obstruction during spirometry testing.

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