Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a serious lung disease that over time makes it difficult for people to breathe. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is the fourth leading cause of death and the second leading cause of disability in the United States. In people who have COPD the airways are partially blocked, which makes it hard to get air in and out of the lungs.
Dr. Joseph Henkle, professor and chief of pulmonary medicine at SIU School of Medicine, explains the disease.
Dr. Henkle says symptoms of COPD are breathlessness during exercise, especially in older individuals. Also, individuals may experience smoker’s cough, on a daily basis coughing up small bits of discolored phlegm.