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COPD – Smoker’s Lungs

Bronchitis chronica (Latin name)

By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

COPD or smoker's lungs occurs in half of all smokers after 20 years. Cough with sputum and shortness of breath are typical signs. COPD is often complicated by pneumonia. There are medications for COPD, but the main treatment is smoking cessation. Contact your doctor right away by high fever, cough with sputum, shortness of breath on minimal exertion or breathlessness at rest.


COPD or smoker’s lungs is one of the major causes of illness and death. The disease is caused by a progressive contraction and irritation in the lungs. 

COPD are caused by smoking. The more and the longer you smoke, the greater the risk of developing COPD. About half of all smokers who have smoked 20 cigarettes a day will after 20-25 years develop COPD. Smoking is the main cause but also other factors such heredity plays in. 

COPD is shown by daily cough with sputum and shortness of breath. In the beginning, only shortness of breath on exertion, but you continue to smoke comes shortness of breath at rest. 

In connection with common colds and influenza – that all are affected by - becomes COPD exacerbated with increasing cough and shortness of breath. There is then a high risk that may occur pneumonia with fever

Fever, coughing and severe shortness of breath is the most frequent cause of hospital admission with COPD.



COPD can be treated with medications that expand the lungs and inhibits irritation in the lungs. At advanced COPD it may be necessary to provide oxygen around the clock.

If signs of infection with fever, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics.


What can you do?

You should stop smoking.
Be vaccinated against influenza and pneumonia.
Exercise as much as possible.
If your cough worsens with sputum or shortness of breath you can increase your usual medications after you have discussed it with your doctor.


Contact the doctor tomorrow

By deterioration of the cough.
By sputum and shortness of breath.
By fever.

Contact the doctor immediately

If you have high fever, cough with sputum and shortness of breath even on minimal exertion or breathlessness at rest.