Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects over 100,000 people in Scotland and is usually diagnosed in the over 40s.
COPD is not a disease in itself but a general term used to describe a number of lung conditions including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, both of which damage the lungs and cause the airways to narrow over time. The narrowing of the airways reduces the amount of air that can get in to, and out of, the lungs resulting in difficulties with breathing including breathlessness and a persistent cough. COPD is not reversible; once the airways have narrowed they cannot widen again, but there are treatments available that can help ease the symptoms.
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