Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the chronic blockage of airways in the lungs, usually from a combination of emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Albuterol is a bronchodilator used to treat COPD. Albuterol relaxes the muscles around your airways in the lungs, which increases the flow of air and relieves breathing difficulties. Depending on the severity of your COPD, you may need to use albuterol before activities on a daily basis, or a combination of both. While albuterol can relieve symptoms, it is not a cure for COPD.