Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties.

It includes:

  • emphysema - damage to the air sacs in the lungs
  • chronic bronchitis - long-term inflammation of the airways

COPD is a common condition that mainly affects middle-aged or older adults who smoke. Many people don't realise they have it and their breathing problems tend to get worse over time. This can lead to normal activties such as walking, running or other forms of exercise becoming limited and more difficult. However there is treatment that can help keep the conditions under control.