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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Chapter:
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Author(s):

Nicholas S. Hopkinson

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0411
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date: 02 March 2021

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung condition caused by the inhalation of noxious materials, principally tobacco smoke, and characterized by airflow limitation that is not fully reversible. Key features are cough, sputum production, and breathlessness. There are chronic progressive symptoms and acute exacerbations. The term COPD incorporates several pathological processes, present to a variable extent in any given individual, involving both the airways (chronic bronchitis) and the lung parenchyma (emphysema). Most COPD patients will have one or more other long-term conditions. COPD is the third leading cause of death worldwide. COPD should be considered in those over the age of 35 who have (1) exposure to risk factors, usually, but not exclusively, tobacco smoke; (2) a history of chronic progressive respiratory symptoms; (3) airflow limitation that is not fully reversible.

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