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COPD Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors

Early detection of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is key to successful treatment. If you have any of the symptoms or exposures to risk factors mentioned in the sections below, talk to your doctor about them.


Shortness of breath or a lingering cough could be early warning signs of COPD. Learn more about COPD symptoms and when to talk to your doctor


The main cause of COPD is smoking, but nonsmokers can get COPD too. See factors that contribute to COPD »

Preventing COPD

If you are concerned about getting COPD, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Understand if you are at risk for COPD and get tips to protect your lungs »

    Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed December 23, 2017.

    Page Last Updated: July 11, 2019

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