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Is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) the same thing as emphysema?

COPD is a term for a group of lung diseases that includes emphysema. Emphysema is a condition in which the air sacs in the lungs, called alveoli, are damaged due to inflammation from irritants. In a healthy lung, these air sacs allow oxygen in the air to move into the blood. In emphysema, there is a progressive decline in the number of air sacs, which then limits the amount of oxygen entering the blood. Furthermore, with increasing damage to the air sacs, the lungs lose their natural elasticity, which makes breathing more difficult.

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Author: Dr Joanne Van der Velden PhD, BSc (Hons)
First answered: 18 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 18 May 2018
Rating: 4.7 out of 5
Votes: 814 (Click smiley face below to rate)
Category: Asthma

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