Journal Mobile

P Albert, P Calverley
Journal Issue: 
Volume 37: Issue 3: 2007




Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a disease state characterised by airflow obstruction that is not fully reversible.  It is predominantly caused by smoking, although other factors such as occupational exposures also contribute to the development. The obstruction arises from chronic inflammation in the airways and  lung  parenchyma. Chronic  obstructive  pulmonary  disease  produces symptoms, disability and impaired quality of life but significant airflow obstruction may  be  present  before  the  patient  is  aware  of  symptoms.  Chronic  obstructive pulmonary disease is the preferred term for patients who may have been labelled as having chronic bronchitis or emphysema in the past. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is generally a progressive disease.  If the patient  stops  smoking, the  disease  may  still  progress  due  to  the  decline  in  lung function that occurs with the normal aging process.  However, ongoing smoking accelerates the process.