Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. With COPD, the airways that lead to the lungs may be narrowed, and the tiny air sacs in the lungs may be damaged and lose their stretch.

COPD is usually caused by smoking. Air pollution also causes COPD. Other things that may lead to COPD include breathing chemical fumes, factory dust, soot, or secondhand smoke over a long period of time.

COPD may be treated with medicines and oxygen. You can also try to do things to stay as healthy as possible, such as not smoking. Treatments and a healthy lifestyle may help slow the disease, help you feel better, and help prevent problems. The best 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.