John Costello, M.D., Pulmonology Consultant, Mayo Clinic Healthcare London: Tobacco damages the airways, it damages the substance of the lungs, as well, and causes emphysema and is the major cause of COPD.
DeeDee Stiepan, moderator: Instead of lighting up, Dr. John Costello hopes people will consider quitting. It's not the only culprit.
John Costello, M.D.: Environmental smoke can also damage the lungs.
DeeDee Stiepan: It's more than a cough. And those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are at a higher risk for other diseases.
John Costello, M.D.: Lung cancer, from heart disease, coronary artery disease, and indeed, at the end stage of the condition, from heart failure.
DeeDee Stiepan: Bronchitis and emphysema are two forms of COPD and can occur together. Treatments may help. For some — an inhaler, called a bronchodilator, might be used to help with cough and shortness of breath. It works by relaxing constricted airways.
John Costello, M.D.: If the condition is severe, nebulized bronchodilators, the machine you plug in the wall and put in a rather larger dose.
DeeDee Stiepan: COPD, in many cases, can be prevented, says Dr. Costello. His advice?
John Costello, M.D.: Strongest possible advice here is to quit smoking, to avoid smoking, to avoid smoke in your environment.
DeeDee Stiepan: For the Mayo Clinic News Network, I'm DeeDee Stiepan.