The lungs in COPD
People with COPD have inflammation in their lungs that causes the production of large amounts of mucus – a clear slimy fluid secreted by cells lining the inside of the lungs. The mucus is a very good place for bacteria to grow, so lung infections are common in people with COPD. The mucus blocks the fine bronchioles and causes wheezing – squeaky breathing; you can often hear a quiet whistling or squeaking sound coming from the lungs when the person breathes in.
Can you think what effect it will have on a person whose lungs are obstructed with sticky mucus?
They won't be able to get as much air into their lungs when they breathe, so they feel short of breath; their lungs can't expand so easily, so they have a feeling of tightness in the chest. You might also have guessed correctly that people with COPD are always coughing, because of the irritation in their lungs and wanting to cough up the mucus.