COPD is a chronic and incurable respiratory condition that has three categories: asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. Risk factors include smoking and exposure to environmental allergens and pollutants that trigger the lungs and alveoli to become inflamed and produce mucus, resulting in narrowed airways. COPD is a condition of restricted air flow and causes complications throughout the body related to chronic hypoxia.
Diagnosis is based on a history of exposures to allergens (mainly cigarette smoking), symptoms, and a physical examination. Clinical symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and dyspnea. Diagnostic tests include spirometry as the GOLD standard and may include radiography to visualize the size of the lungs.
Treatment includes management of symptoms, medications, lifestyle modifications; in addition, education for pulmonary rehabilitation to avoid acute exacerbations and improve the quality of life. There is no cure but there are many classes of medications to assist with bronchodilation and decrease inflammation of airways and lungs.
COPD guide that covers everything from the definition and symptoms of COPD to diagnosis, treatment, and living with COPD.
American Lung Association
With information that includes how to stop smoking, the ALA is committed to “Fighting for Air” and publishes a highly informative website about lung diseases and lung disorders.
British Lung Foundation
The U.K.-based BLF charity provides information for a number of lung diseases. The site’s COPD section also offers information in multiple languages, including Bengali, Guajarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Turkish, and Urdu.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
This respected U.S. government resource offers information about COPD, including a list of relevant publications and resources for further research.
This U.S.-based not-for-profit organization’s mission is to develop and support programs that improve the quality of life through research, education, early diagnosis, and enhanced therapy for persons whose lives are impacted by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
A good source for up-to-date developments, this digest is published by the COPD Foundation.
Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD)
GOLD works with healthcare professionals and public health officials to raise awareness of COPD and to improve prevention and treatment of this lung disease for patients around the world. Their website includes information about World COPD Day.
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
World Health Organization (WHO)
Global perspective on COPD, including world statistics and NGO and government-sponsored efforts to combat the diseases.