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What is silent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

Silent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers  to the early stage of the disease when no symptoms are present. While your lung capacity has diminished, the chronic cough and shortness of breath that characterizes COPD do not yet exist. Everyone is born with extra lung capacity, so it is possible to lose some without realizing it. Additionally, you may adjust your daily routine to avoid strenuous activities that cause shortness of breath without even realizing you have done so. A physical exam and chest x-ray cannot detect COPD in the early stages; only a breathing test called spirometry can.
Silent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is COPD that has not declared itself by causing symptoms.  If a person is having symptoms of COPD, his or her lungs have probably already experienced some irreversible damage.  If people are smoking, they are damaging their lungs!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.