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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is a lung disease that is characterized by difficulty in breathing. It is a common lung disorder and can get worse over time. It affects the airflow in the lungs causing breathing problems. The main symptoms of COPD are there is shortness of breath. It produces large amounts of mucus and would be expectorated when there is coughing. Since there is constant lack of oxygen in the body the risk of developing complications is heightened. The most common complications of COPD are heart disease, lung cancer, and other conditions.

There are two main types of COPD: chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

  • Chronic bronchitis involves a long-term cough with mucus
  • Emphysema is a condition that affects the alveoli in the lungs

Most people diagnosed with COPD may have a combination of both disorders.


The cause of COPD can be attributed to external factors and of course genes. Smoking is viewed as the number one cause of COPD. However, there are individuals who smoke for such a long time but never got COPD. It is believed that nonsmokers who lack a protein called alpha-1 can develop emphysema.
There are also other factors that can cause the development of COPD. These are:

  • Exposure to harmful gases and fumes without proper safety procedures
  • Exposure to second-hand smoke and pollution
  • Cooking fire without proper ventilation

The signs and symptoms of COPD will vary from one person to the other. But typical symptoms can include:

  • A heavy cough and with or without mucus
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • The development of infections in the respiratory system
  • Dyspnea or shortness of breath is common even if there is only mild activity
  • Wheezing when breathing

Since the symptoms develop slowly, some people don’t know that they already have COPD.

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If you think you are suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).