The Knowledge Center

COPD progression

How COPD may progress.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is usually progressive. That means symptoms can get worse over time. Quitting smoking is the only thing that can slow the progression of COPD. Appropriate treatments and lifestyle changes can help you breathe easier. Talk to your doctor now about managing COPD.

Several factors may contribute to COPD progression:

  • Smoking
  • Age: The breathing trouble you experience with COPD is more than just age-related. But COPD can progress as time goes on and you get older
  • Exposure to toxic substances

This is how emphysema associated with COPD may progress in the lungs.

From New England Journal of Medicine, Mitzner W, Emphysema—a disease of small airways or lung parenchyma? 365(17):1638. Copyright 2011 Massachusetts Medical Society. Reprinted with permission from Massachusetts Medical Society.

No treatment can stop the progression of COPD, but quitting smoking can slow it down, and maintenance treatments can help you breathe easier.

Ask your doctor about the roles of rescue medicines, long-acting maintenance treatments, and short-acting maintenance treatments. Your doctor can tell you how these treatments work—and how they can work together.

Want to know more about:

Getting diagnosed? >

What to do after COPD diagnosis? >

How to manage COPD? >