Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: what it is, what its symptoms are and what to do to prevent and treat it.

COPD is a common, preventable, and treatable disease characterized by permanent respiratory symptoms, inflammation, and difficulty in airflow, usually caused by alterations in the respiratory system primarily due to exposure to harmful substances or gases, such as tobacco smoke.

Shortness of breath (progressively increasing and worsening with physical activity), fatigue, and chronic cough (predominantly in the morning upon waking, with or without sputum).

Smoking is the most significant risk factor, but other factors can include high levels of pollution, occupational exposure to toxic substances, a history of tuberculosis, childhood asthma, repeated respiratory infections…

Through tests that primarily analyze lung function, although blood tests, a chest X-ray, or other radiological tests such as a CT scan

It can be prevented by avoiding exposure to risk factors related to the quality of the air we breathe, for example, by avoiding smoking or secondhand smoke, using a mask when necessary, and getting vaccinated for protection against infections such as the flu. It is also crucial to adhere to the treatment and follow the doctor’s recommendations properly.

Other pathologies

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Miravitlles M, et al. Guía española de la enfermedad pulmonar obstructiva crónica (GesEPOC) 2017. Tratamiento farmacológico en fase estable. Arch Bronconeumol. 2017.

Guía Española de la GesEPOC 2021 [accessed: september 2023]. Available at:
OMS [accessed: september 2023]. Available at: