Michigan Lung and Critical Care MLCC sleep lab Grand Blanc Sleep Apnea Gregory Streff Mark Rittenger Pradeep Ramachandran

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of lung diseases that cause swelling of the airways. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the most common forms of COPD.

is a lung disease that involves damage to the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. The air sacs become dilated and are unable to deflate completely with breathing. This renders them incapable of filling with fresh air and limits their ability to move oxygen into the bloodstream, thus decreasing the amount of oxygen that gets to the body tissues.

Chronic Bronchitis
is an inflammation of the main airways (bronchi) that persists for a long period of time or recurs repeatedly. It is characterized by a cough that is productive of mucus for 3 months or more in at least 2 consecutive years, without the presence of any other disease that could account for this symptom.

Causes, incidence and risk factors
The leading cause of COPD is smoking. Prolonged tobacco use causes lung inflammation and destroys the air sacs in the lungs. Other risk factors for COPD are exposure to second-hand smoke, male gender and working or living in a polluted environment.


  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea) persisting for months to years
  • Wheezing
  • Decreased exercise tolerance
  • Cough with or without phlegm


  • A chest X-ray can show an over-expanded lung (hyperinflation), and a chest CT scan may show emphysema.
  • A sample of blood taken from an artery (arterial blood gas/ABG) may show low levels of oxygen (hypoxemia) and high level of carbon dioxide.
  • Pulmonary function tests show decreased airflow rates while exhaling, and air-trapping.
Treatment includes inhalers that dilate the airways (bronchodilators), decrease bronchospasm (anticholinergics) and decrease inflammation (inhaled steroids). Stopping smoking is essential to effective treatment.

Antibiotics are used in addition to oral or IV steroids for severe flare-ups. Eventually, oxygen may be required and lung rehabilitation programs have been shown to be helpful in some individuals.


9450 S. Saginaw Street, Suite EGrand Blanc, Michigan 48439Telephone 810.695.4000FAX 810.695.4055