6 Major Causes of COPD
COPD, short for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a term that refers to a group of lung diseases that affect your airflow, making it hard to breathe. The two most common COPD diseases are chronic bronchitis, leading to an overproduction of mucus, and emphysema, which causes the air sacs in the lungs to become enlarged. COPD is treatable but not curable – symptoms can be controlled but will never fully go away. Visit Sensoronics for more COPD information.
While anyone can get COPD, there are a number of factors that make you more susceptible to the disease. Here are 6 major causes of COPD to be aware of:
There’s no denying that smoking is one of the worst habits for your lung health. It’s thought that cigarette smoke is the biggest cause of COPD, and the more regularly you smoke, the more at risk you are. It’s not just cigarettes that cause COPD – other tobacco products like cigars and pipes can also lead to the disease. Quitting smoking is the simplest way to avoid getting COPD at all.
If you live in a part of the world with a large-scale air pollution problem, you’re more likely to be at risk of contracting COPD. Breathing in dust and harsh chemical fumes can do real damage to your lungs over a longer period of time. You might also get COPD from breathing in dangerous substances at work, if you’re not using the right protective equipment.
In some instances, you might not get COPD from an external factor, but you’re more susceptible to the disease because of a DNA defect you carry. This could have been passed down from your parents – it’s quite common for COPD to run in the family. It’s a good idea to get tested for COPD by a doctor if a close family member has a serious lung disease.
A number of people who suffer from asthma can actually develop COPD because of the damage the asthma causes to their lungs. Studies have found that asthmatic people were 12 times more likely to be diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than people without asthma. At the moment there is no definitive asthma cure, although asthma can be managed with medication.
Although age doesn’t guarantee an increased risk of COPD, most people will develop the disease once they pass the age of 40. When you’re younger, your lungs are generally healthier, and it’s only as you age that a gradual degeneration can lead to the development of the classic COPD symptoms. You can still develop COPD at a younger age, but it’s much rarer.
Some respiratory infections can damage your lungs and lead to an increased risk of COPD with older age. You’re especially at risk if you experienced a large number of respiratory infections as a child, when your lungs were still developing. COPD leads to a higher chance of developing more respiratory infections, which can worsen the disease.