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COPD is characterised by the presence of incompletely reversible airflow obstruction. A clinical diagnosis of COPD should be considered in any patient who has dyspnoea, chronic cough and/or sputum production, but confirmation always requires spirometry

Illustration of the bronchi (airways) in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Symptoms of COPD include a long-term cough with quantities of mucus (yellow) produced by the cells lining the airways (inset left), and emphysema.

Source  John Bavosi / Science Photo library