COPD is characterized by a longstanding (chronic) obstruction to air flow out of the lungs. It can take different forms and have different symptoms. Symptoms of COPD can also vary in severity. Symptoms include
Other possible symptoms can include
- finger clubbing,
- exercise intolerance (inability to exercise or reduced ability to exercise),
- chest tightness,
- cough productive of sputum, and
- coughing up blood.
Causes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
The primary cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is cigarette smoking and/or exposure to cigarette smoke. Other causes include air pollution, infectious diseases, and certain genetic or inherited conditions like alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.
Kleinschmidt, Paul. "Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Emphysema in Emergency Medicine." Medscape.com. Jan. 27, 2016. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/807143-overview>.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
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Examples of Medications for COPD Symptoms and Signs
- albuterol (Accuneb, Ventolin & Proventil [all discontinued])
- albuterol and ipratropium inhaler, Combivent, Combivent Respimat
- ipratropium bromide inhaler, Atrovent, Atrovent HFA
- ipratropium solution - inhalation, Atrovent
- magnesium sulfate (injection)
- methylprednisolone, Medrol, Depo-Medrol, Solu-Medrol
- pirfenidone (Esbriet)
- salmeterol, Serevent
- terbutaline, Brethine, Bricanyl, and Brethaire are no longer available in the U.S.
- theophylline, Elixophyllin, Theo-24, (Theolair, Uniphyl Theo-Dur, and Slo-Phyllin-discontinued)
- tiotropium bromide and olodaterol (Stiolto Respimat)
- tiotropium capsule - inhalation