Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is a lung disease which results in difficulty in breathing. This disease is caused by damage to the lungs over several years. Usually, COPD is caused by smoking but there can be many other causes of this disease as well.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is often a mix of 2 different diseases which are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. In the case of chronic bronchitis, the bronchial tubes get inflamed and tend to produce a lot of mucus. Whereas in the case of emphysema, the tiny air sacs in a healthy person get damaged and lose their stretch.
COPD can get worse over a period of time and this disease and the damage it creates cannot be reversed. But there are many ways that one can improve the condition and treat it to some extent. The following are some of the main causes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease:
- The most common and major cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is smoking. What happens is that over a period of time, breathing tobacco tends to irritate the airways anddestroy the stretchy fibers in the lungs.
- Another common cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is breathing chemical fumes. This generally happens to those who work in chemical factories or other such settings.
- Another cause of COPD is breathing in dust or air pollution. If this happens over a long or prolonged period of time then it can cause problems in the lungs.
- Second hand smoke is also another cause which can lead to COPD and damage to the lungs.
What are the Symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease?
- One of the most common symptoms of COPD is long lasting cough. If a person experiences a cough for a prolonged period of time, then he/she must get it checked for damaged lungs or COPD.
- Another common symptom of COPD is mucus that comes up along with cough.
- If you have been experiencing shortness of breath which gets worse with exercising or continuous physical work then this too can be a sign of COPD.
Ways to Prevent COPD
The following are some of the ways which can help you prevent COPD:
- The best way to avoid suffering from COPD is to stop smoking. There are many clear and obvious benefits of not smoking and one of them is the reduction of damage to the lungs. No matter how much you have smoked till now, quitting today will really help.
- Stopping smoking is even more helpful to avoid COPD in the case of those who have low levels of the protein called alpha-1 antitrypsin.
- Another effective way to prevent COPD is to avoid bad air or air full of chemicals. There are many airway irritants which like dust, chemical fumes and air pollution which can make the condition worse and these must be avoided.
- Getting flu vaccines or other types of vaccines is also another way or prevention and control of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.