COPD slowly damages airways, the breathing tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. COPD makes airways swollen and partly blocked by mucus, a slimy substance. COPD causes wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and other symptoms. It also creates damages in the tiny air sacs at the tips of the airways. This makes it hard to move air in and out of the lungs.
COPD is often misdiagnosed and confused with asthma. COPD is mainly caused by smoking. Long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust, also may contribute to COPD.
COPD cannot be cured but it can be treated by: quitting smoking and, adopting a healthier life style and exercise, and with medicines, vaccines, pulmonary rehabilitation, oxygen therapy, and rarely surgery.