Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the most common lung conditions, affecting more than 65 million people worldwide. Smoking tobacco, air pollution, and genetic predisposition are the primary risk factors for COPD. The condition can significantly shorten a person's life but, unfortunately, may be asymptomatic in the early stages. In some cases, symptoms of COPD do not show up until the lungs are already damaged.
People with COPD usually develop a persistent cough that does not subside for weeks, months, or years. The cough is similar to a smoker's cough, and many long-term smokers assume the symptom is simply a by-product of their habit, which can lead to a delayed diagnosis.
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