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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. It's often a mix of two diseases caused by smoking: chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Over time, it can lead to severe shortness of breath and heart problems.
COPD can't be cured, but medicines and lifestyle changes may help reduce symptoms.
The only reliable way to slow COPD is to stop smoking.
Last Revised: September 27, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Ken Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology
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