How well do you know COPD? Take this short quiz to find out!

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (or COPD) is a lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe.
COPD is a long-term disease characterized by inflammation and severe limitation of air flow in and out of the lungs.

Although respiratory infections such as influenza and pneumonia do not cause COPD, they can make people with COPD very sick.
Therefore, it is very important to keep these vaccinations up to date.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Other causes are long-term exposure to second-hand smoke or long-term exposure
to irritants such as air pollution, dust or workplace fumes, and biomass exposure (such as wood smoke).

COPD can be managed by consulting early with your healthcare provider, seeking diagnosis and intervention therapies, and adopting
lifestyle changes that include quitting smoking, pulmonary rehabilitation, healthy eating and exercise, and maintaining a positive outlook.

Daily coughing is not normal and could be a sign of a serious lung condition. Individuals who have a history of smoking or long-term exposure
to lung irritants or pollutants should ask their healthcare professional for a breathing test called spirometry
(also called a lung function test or a pulmonary function test).

There is no cure for COPD, however, lifestyle changes and treatments can help you feel better, stay more active, and slow disease
progression. Patients should become informed about COPD by speaking with their doctor. Sometimes a referral to a pulmonologist,
or lung doctor, may be required.

An important medicine used to treat COPD is called a bronchodilator, which patients breathe into the lungs to open up (or dilate) the airways
(or bronchi); Other medicines can be used with bronchodilators in special situations, and these include inhaled corticosteroids,
oral methylxanthines (such as theophylline), or oral phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitors.

Most bronchodilators are taken with inhalers, which allow the medication to go straight to your lungs. Using inhalers the right way is
very important, and your healthcare provider or pharmacist can instruct you on their correct use.

Short-acting, or quick relief, bronchodilators can be prescribed as needed for trouble breathing. Long-acting bronchodilators are usually given
to you if you have ongoing symptoms of COPD and should be taken regularly – whether or not you are having trouble breathing.

If your COPD becomes more severe, or if your symptoms flare up often, your doctor may prescribe a combination of a long-acting
bronchodilator taken together with an inhaled steroid. If you don’t have relief of symptoms, or if your COPD exacerbations continue,
your doctor may decide to prescribe a PDE-4 inhibitor to lower your chances of having more COPD exacerbations.

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Jointly sponsored by the Annenberg Center for Health Sciences at Eisenhower and Prime Medic Inc. in collaboration with Postgraduate Institute for Medicine.

This activity is supported by educational grants from:


This website is part of The Animated Patient™ Series, developed to provide highly visual formats of learning for patients to improve their understanding, make informed decisions, and partner with their health-care professionals for optimal outcomes.