COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is a chronic disease caused by cigarette smoke & by air pollution

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease) is a chronic disease associated with a progressive and not reversible reduction of the airflow. This because chronic inflammation destroy elastic and muscolar fibres in bronchus progressively reducing the elasticity and the capability of self-cleaning of the bronchus. This reduction leads to a loss of the normal daily activities from the patients. In fact if in the early stages, for the patients is difficult to raise the stairs, in severe and very severe COPD it's impossible to perform the most common activities such as have a shower. Furthermore evolutive complications of COPD are really severe. In many epidemiolocical studies in high polluted district COPD and its complications are forecasted as first cause of death in the next years. Usually this disease is linked with sigarette smoking or to the indoor/outdoor pollution. Anyway a genetic factor is foundamental, as some heavy smokers do not develop the disease.


COPD is a respiratory pathology characterized by a persistent airflow limitation and it's strongly recomended to perform a mass screening with spirometry to start treatment as soon as possible and prevent the aggravation. COPD diagnosis is made by instrumental exams, Spirometry (a test that measures the residual respiratory capacity just breathing in a "tube"). Symptoms often are not recognised by the patients and so they are reffered to the physician too late. The habit to smoke (or professional/natural exposure to pollution), with the presence of cough, sputum and dispnea, allow to diagnose COPD.


Exacerbations are acute episodes that make the pathology worse. They can have a bacterial origin or not.


Related to the severity of pathology, it's possible to distinguish 4 cases depending on the value of FEV1 (Forced espiratory volume in the first second)
- COPD mild (or grade 1): FEV1 <80% of the theoric value
- COPD Moderate (or grade II): FEV1 between 50% and 80%
- COPD Severe (or grade III): FEV1 between 30% and 50%
- COPD Very severe (or grade IV): FEV1 <30%

In the last version of COPD guidelines, patients are classified on the basis both FEV1 and exacerbation rate