Because my husband passed away 4 years after being diagnosed with Stage IV adenocarcinoma (lung cancer), I opted to have a CT scan of my lungs to make sure I didn't have any looming problems. It was discovered that I had mild emphysema. That was no shock as I had smoked until 12 years prior to that scan. A second CT scan two years ago revealed the same diagnosis - mild emphysema with no other changes. I don't have a cough, never have had bronchitis nor asthma. However, on my medical records is the notation that I have COPD. As an old nurse who learned from my Mayo Clinic/St. Mary's schooling in the 1960s, COPD is a combination of at least two out of three of the 3 ailments . . . emphysema, bronchitis or asthma. The treatments for COPD vs. mild emphysema are worlds apart and I wonder when these lines of distinction were erased and if they were, why? Or is it lack of knowledge in the medical community that obscures the difference.
If there's anyone out there who can shed light on the evolution of this terminology, I'd like to hear of you.