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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)




I have bronchitis for the fourth time since March 2009. I don`t smoke and never have. Could this be considered COPD now or is it still acute?


Thank you for visiting NetWellness and for your question. COPD is defined as airflow obstruction that is not fully reversible. The airflow obstruction in COPD is usually progressive and associated with an abnormal inflammatory response of the lung to noxious particles or gases (cigarette smoke in most cases).

COPD is now diagnosed by a breathing test called spirometry. An older definition of COPD included the term chronic bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis is defined by a chronic productive cough for three months in each of two successive years in someone where other causes of chronic cough have been excluded. Other causes of chronic cough or frequent bronchitis symptoms include sinusitis, reflux disease, asthma, bronchiectasis, and vocal cord dysfunction.

Most people who have never smoked and were not exposed to second hand smoke have another reason for frequent bronchitis other than COPD.

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Response by:

Michael E Ezzie, MD Michael E Ezzie, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University