About COPD

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is an obstructive lung disease that over time makes it hard to breathe. COPD is a disease that involves inflammation and thickening of the airways. It also involves destruction of the tissues in the lung where oxygen is exchanged. Sometimes referred to as either chronic bronchitis or emphysema, most people will have symptoms of both conditions, so health professionals prefer to call the disease COPD.

3 Things You Must Know About COPD

  1. Medication management is key.

    Many people can live well with COPD and avoid exacerbations or flare ups when they take their medication regularly and the right way. You can work with your doctor to create a management plan. Make sure you are taking your medications as directed. Learn more »

  2. Connect with social support.

    Living with COPD can make you feel like you are alone. Social support has been shown to improve quality of life in those with COPD. Whether you join an in-person or online support group, you can help yourself and help others face this disease. Learn more »

  3. Treat your lungs well.

    Taking care of your health and your lungs can help you manage your COPD and feel the best you can. Ask your doctor about pulmonary rehabilitation to help build up your strength. If you smoke, quit. Avoid lung irritants like secondhand smoke, pollution or hazardous chemicals. Avoid crowds and make sure you are up to date on your vaccinations. Learn more »

Robert's Story

As a former smoker and one who was in a "sick building" filled with mold, I developed COPD and asthma, which now, at age 72, is making life and breathing more difficult.

I am a retired social worker from the American Red Cross, and now give back by being a member of the Leadership Board of the American Lung Association in Minnesota.

Having both asthma and COPD has made my life more difficult, however attending the Better Breathers Club and participating in Lung Association events has brought me knowledge and resources to help me cope. I am now modifying my home to "age in place" and accommodate my illness.

Thank you, ALA, for helping me make the most of my abilities.

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Featured COPD Resources

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