Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that affects an estimated 32 million Americans. Its main characteristic is increasing breathlessness. Before diagnosis, the doctor will prescribe a dose of at least one short-acting inhaled bronchodilator, a medication that relaxes the muscles in and around your airways, making breathing easier. If symptoms continue, the doctor will use spirometry, a test where an individual blows into a handheld device that records how much air they can blow in and out, in order to confirm the diagnosis.
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