COPD – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

What is COPD?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a disease that gets worse over time and makes it hard to breathe. It can cause coughing that produces large amounts of mucus, wheezing, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest.

COPD is used to describe lung diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis.

In most cases, COPD is diagnosed in people over 40 years of age. Someone with COPD may not realize that they are becoming more short of breath until it becomes very hard to do simple tasks like walking up stairs.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Long-term exposure to other lung irritants–such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust–may also contribute to COPD.

(Sources: Canadian Lung Associationthe American National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and the American COPD Foundation)


For more information on the symptoms of COPD, please visit The Lung Association website


Your health care provider will need to ask you questions about your health history in order to help with diagnosing COPD. You can read more on diagnosing on The Lung Association website.

Treatments and Medications

COPD is not a disease that is curable, but it can be treated. For more information on the Treatments for COPD, please visit The Lung Association website. There are also different medications that can be used in the treatment of COPD, you can find a list of these on the website for The Lung Association.

When to see a Doctor

Take the Canadian Lung Health Test

Resources and Support:

If you or someone you know is living with COPD and would benefit from Respiratory Education, call Evelyn Harel, Health Educator at Greenstone Family Health Team at 807-854-0051 to book an appointment.

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