Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) describes a collection of lung diseases that encompass such conditions as chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive airways disease, and emphysema. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease makes it difficult for individuals with the condition to breath in and out normally. Smoking has been determined to be the main cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Breathing tobacco smoke destroys the fleshy fibers in the lungs and also causes the airways to become irritated. Inhaling dust, air pollution, and chemical fumes over a long period of time can also contribute to the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The American Lung Association has determined that over 12 million people within the United States have been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.