COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. COPD is an umbrella term that encompasses both emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It’s the disease that led to my father’s death this summer and that made him struggle to breathe for years. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States, killing more than 135,000 Americans each year. More than 15 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD, and many more are likely unaware that they have the disease.