(HealthDay News) -- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a general term for the narrowing of the small bronchi, the smaller airways that carry air to the lungs. The two prime diseases that make up COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

The American Lung Association suggests these steps to help protect you from COPD:

  • Don't smoke, and quit if you currently smoke.
  • Stay away from secondhand smoke, and don't allow other people to smoke in your home.
  • Avoid exposure to lung-damaging chemicals.
  • Take steps to help promote clean air in your community.
  • Schedule a visit with your doctor if you suspect that you may have COPD, particularly if you are 45 or older and have a history of smoking.