Respiratory Care

Your ability to breathe in air when you’re asleep or awake may be affected by your lower airway-that is, your lung area. This may be due to a number of lower airway conditions.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Learn more about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): what it actually is, the benefits of treatment, and ResMed’s treatment solution.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive long-term lung disease that involves inflammation and thickening of the airways.1 Over time the disease makes it more difficult to breathe because the airways are obstructed, restricting the flow of air in and out of the lungs.1 When this happens less oxygen reaches the blood, and it becomes harder to get rid of the waste gas carbon dioxide.1 COPD is made up of two chronic conditions: chronic bronchitis which is a persistent cough with mucus, and emphysema which is characterized by the destruction of lung tissue.1

Causes of COPD

The main cause of COPD is tobacco smoking, with smokers at a higher risk of respiratory problems and mortality.2 Other risk factors include exposure to air pollution, and occupational exposure to dust and chemicals.3

How common is COPD?

According to the latest figures from the World Health Organization4 65 million people across the globe are living with moderate to severe COPD. Over the next decade deaths from COPD are projected to increase by more than 30%4 and by 2030 it is expected to become the third leading cause of death worldwide.5

COPD diagnosis and treatment

Your doctor will diagnose COPD based on your symptoms and medical history.

What happens during normal breathing?

To understand what could be affecting your ability to breathe properly, it’s helpful to know what normal breathing looks like.

What happens during normal breathing?

To find out what could be affecting your ability to breathe properly, it’s helpful to first understand what normal breathing looks like.

Breathing is automatic

It might sound simple, but it’s important to realize that breathing is not something we have to consciously remember to do. It’s a reflex that is controlled by nerve cells in the brain and spine.

The upper and lower airways

The respiratory system is made up of 2 parts: the upper and lower airways.