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SSDRC Disability Blog

Symptoms and causes of COPD

1) Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is not simply one disease, but a term used for two diseases that are often co-existing, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

2) COPD is not curable and usually not reversible. Instead of getting better, it progressively gets worse with time.

3) COPD can also be known as CORD (chronic obstructive respiratory disease), COLD (chronic obstructive lung disease), CAL (chronic airflow limitation), and COAD (chronic obstructive airway disease), though it is most often referred to as COPD.

4) COPD is most often caused by tobacco smoking. It can also be caused by occupational hazards such as welding and coal mining, indoor and outdoor air pollution, and genetics, although 80-90 percent of COPD cases are caused by smoking cigarettes.

5) It is uncommon for COPD to be diagnosed in someone under the age of 40 years old.

6) Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs), such as the Spirometry, can help diagnose the disease by measuring the speed and flow of air during inhalation and exhalation. An X-ray may also be used to show an affected lung or to rule out other diseases.

7) The symptoms of COPD are shortness of breath (dyspnea), cough, fatigue, wheezing, chest tightness, and mucous production. Air pollution and infections can cause sudden sustained worsening of symptoms, called acute exacerbations.

8) In 1990 COPD was the sixth leading cause of death worldwide; it is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

9) Since there is no cure, management techniques such as drug therapy, vaccinations, and smoking cessation or employed to help those suffering with the disease. Many patients will eventually need a long-term oxygen therapy and/or lung transplant.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

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Appealed my disability denial, what should I expect?
Can you receive your SSI disability payment before you get an approval letter?
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Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

Disability lawyer fee - what does an attorney cost?
Social Security Disability appeal status
The status of your social security disability or SSI case
Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI tips
Maximum SSDI SSI Disability back pay
SSI disability back pay
How Far Back Will Social Security Pay Benefits?
What if the SSDI Disability application gets denied?
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions
When You File an SSI or Social Security Disability Application
After you file and apply for disability
Applying for disability, the application process
Tips for how to get approved for SSDI or SSI
Social Security Disability SSDI SSI Tips
Proving Social Security Disability for a mental condition
SSDI SSI Eligibility Requirements and Criteria
Qualifying for disability benefits (SSDI or SSI)
How does a person qualify for SSDI or SSI disability, how are they eligible?