Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a permanent lung damage, usually caused by smoking, that leads to an obstruction of airflow during exhalation. Emphysema is the most common form of COPD; chronic bronchitis is another common form

Signs and Symptoms:

  • coughing that produces large amounts of mucus (a slimy substance)
  • wheezing
  • shortness of breath
  • chest tightness


  • The airways and alveoli lose their elasticity.
  • The walls between many of the air sacs are destroyed.
  • The walls of the airways become thick and inflamed (swollen).
  • The airways make more mucus than usual, which tends to clog the airways
  • Etiology:

    • Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD.
    • Most people who have COPD smoke or used to smoke.
    • Long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust, also may contribute to COPD

    Symptom Treatment and Management:

    • There is no cure for this progressive disease
    • quitting smoking
    • Short term use of  corticosteroids to manage episodes of exacerbated COPD
    • antibiotics may be require to treat and resolve secondary bacterial lung infections
    • Seasonal flu vaccines to prevent infection with the flu virus which may lead to viral pneumonia
    • supplemental oxygen
    • Medications such as bronchodilators to manage shortness of breath

    There are two main types of bronchodilators that come in inhalers:

    1) Beta-2 agonists:

      • salbutamol (Ventolin ®)
      • terbutaline (Bricanyl ®)
      • formoterol (Oxeze ®)
      • salmeterol (Serevent ®)


    2) Anticholinergics:

    • ipratropium bromide (Atrovent ®)
    • tiotropium (Spiriva ®)

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