Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. It's often a mix of two diseases caused by smoking: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Over time, it can lead to severe shortness of breath and heart problems.

COPD can't be cured, but medicines and lifestyle changes may help reduce symptoms.

The only reliable way to slow COPD is to stop smoking.




The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.