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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Related Terms

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Background

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a type of lung disease that involves damage or obstruction to the airways of the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. COPD is an overall term referring to a group of chronic lung conditions, most commonly including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and possibly asthma or asthmatic bronchitis. While chronic bronchitis and emphysema may occur separately, it is common for patients to have both diseases at the same time.
  • Chronic bronchitis is characterized by an ongoing, mucus-producing cough that that occurs most days of the month, three months a year for two consecutive years or more. Constant coughing causes the bronchial tubes to become inflamed. Eventually, the airways become scarred. Long-term irritation also leads to the production of mucus, which further irritates and blocks the bronchial tubes. As a result, less oxygen is able to enter the airways.
  • In addition, the excessive mucus in the bronchial tubes provides an environment for disease-causing bacteria to grow. Therefore, lung infections are common complications of chronic bronchitis.
  • Emphysema is an incurable illness that occurs when the walls between the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs lose their ability to stretch and recoil, causing shortness of breath (SOB).
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Causes

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Signs and Symptoms

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Complications

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Integrative Therapies

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Prevention

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.