Glossary of Medical Terms
A type of lung disease marked by permanent damage to tissues in the lungs, making it hard to breathe. COPD includes chronic bronchitis, in which the bronchi (large air passages) are inflamed and scarred, and emphysema, in which the alveoli (tiny air sacs) are damaged. It develops over many years and is usually caused by cigarette smoking. Also called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.