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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a severe lung disease that can make it difficult for you to breathe. There currently is no cure for COPD, but if you are one of the millions of people living with the disease, you should know that the specialists at the UI Health can offer treatments to slow its progression and help you maintain the best quality of life possible by making it easier to breathe.

Our COPD Doctors

Min Joo, MD, MPH — Program Director
H. Ari Jaffe, MD 
Lori Wilken, PharmD

Diagnosing and Treating COPD

COPD comprises three lung diseases:

  • Emphysema: The gradual damage of lung tissue that includes the thinning and destruction of the air sacs (alveoli).
  • Chronic bronchitis: Inflammation of the bronchial tubes, which carry air to the lungs.
  • Bronchiectasis: A disease where the lungs' airways become damaged.

To find out which one is causing your symptoms, our COPD specialists will carefully review your personal medical history and symptoms. They will likely ask questions about your past and present smoking history and your family history of lung disease. You also can expect to undergo several tests, such as a chest X-ray, an exercise test, and a breathing test called a spirometry.

If you do have COPD, our doctors will come up with an individualized plan of treatment. That plan will likely include a combination of medication, lifestyle changes, and education.

One of the most important lifestyle changes to make if you have COPD is to stop smoking. If you smoke, we will help you stop. We understand that this can be a very difficult habit to break, and we are committed to help you stop.

Make an Appointment with a COPD Doctor

COPD develops slowly. People often don't seek care for it and aren't diagnosed until their 50s, when the disease has already affected their lung function and their lungs have been irreparably damaged.

If you have COPD or are concerned about your lung health due to risk factors like a history of smoking or exposure to pollutants (chemicals, dust, fumes), talk to your doctor.

To make an appointment at with the UI Health COPD Program, please fill out the online form or call 312.413.4244.