Encyclopedia of Gerontology and Population Aging

Living Edition
| Editors: Danan Gu, Matthew E. Dupre

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

  • Ane Arbillaga-EtxarriEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-69892-2_815-1


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common, preventable, and treatable disease that is characterized by persistent respiratory symptoms and airflow limitation due to airway and/or alveolar abnormalities, usually caused by significant exposure to noxious particles or gases (GOLD Update 2019).

The terms emphysema and chronic bronchitis (Medical Research Council Committee on the Aetiology of Chronic Bronchitis 1965) are commonly incorrectly used in defining COPD. Emphysema is a destruction of the alveolus, which are the gas-exchanging surfaces of the lung (also called parenchyma). This pathological term is often used clinically; however, it describes only one of several structural abnormalities present in COPD. On the other hand, chronic bronchitis is defined as the presence of cough and sputum production for at least 3 months in each of two consecutive years (Medical Research Council Committee on the Aetiology of Chronic Bronchitis). This is a clinically and...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Physical Activity and Sports Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and EducationUniversity of DeustoDonostia-San SebastiánSpain

Section editors and affiliations

  • Mari Armstrong-Hough
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Epidemiology and Public Health, School of Public HealthYale UniversityNew HavenUSA