Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive respiratory disease that makes it hard to breathe. The long name of this condition tells you a lot about the problem if you know what each of the words means.

What does chronic mean when applied to a disease?

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A chronic disease is one that begins slowly, gradually gets worse over time and lasts for a long time, usually for the rest of the person's life.

'Obstructive' means that the disease involves blockages (obstructions) somewhere in the body, and 'pulmonary' tells you that the disease affects the respiratory (or pulmonary) system.

Last modified: Friday, 4 July 2014, 10:34 AM