Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is not a single disorder. Rather, it is a collection of disorders characterized by the progressive development of airflow limitation. Patients afflicted with COPD experience systemic effects that are often responsible for major clinical problems. Lesions with differing pathogenetic bases can contribute to airflow limitation, and these differing and overlapping pathogenetic mechanisms account for the heterogeneous clinical features of COPD.
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