What Causes COPD and How to Prevent It
The lungs are incredible organs, which allow you to breathe whether you breathe through your mouth or nose. These two organs, located in the center front of your chest, look like two pieces of fleshy muscle and feel spongy to the touch. They pull in and expel air. When you have healthy strong lungs, you can breathe easily. COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obstructs both inhaling and exhaling. This condition can make it difficult or uncomfortable to breathe. The main symptoms are shortness of breath, wheezing, a tight feeling in the chest, coughing and coughing up mucus. Fatigue, frequent colds and flu are also symptoms. In its advanced stages, individuals will be extremely out of shape, color underneath fingernails will be blue or grayish and at least partial oxygen supplementation will be required.
COPD can develop if you smoke, breathe in secondhand smoke, are exposed to pollution in the air or have a certain genetic marker, and it is not reversible.
How Does Smoking Cause COPD?
Smoking is one of the most lethal ways to bring on COPD. The direct inhalation damages the air sacs in the lungs when done over a prolonged period of time. This happens over time. Each puff or inhalation of cigarette smoke contributes to this damage by stiffening and then weakening the walls of the air sacs, causing them to break open. Eventually, you have a lower number of air sacs, and the remaining ones are larger in size. The walls become thicker and get inflamed. This continues to happen. Then, more mucus forms in the lungs making it continually more difficult to breathe. If you don’t quit, this could lead to end stage COPD and eventually death. Avoiding secondhand tobacco smoke can also help prevent this condition. Cigarettes, cigars and pipes, as well as second-hand smoke from them can cause COPD.
Pollution can cause irreversible damage to the lungs, which can lead to COPD. Pollutants in the air such as exhaust, fumes and even dust particles can lead to COPD.
Some of the most dangerous pollutants are indoors. These include mold, pet dander, particles from insects, dust mites and pollen. Regular cleaning of the home and adopting the best habits as far as cleaning up after your pets can decrease the possibility of COPD by pollution in the home.
Some ways to prevent indoor air pollution:
- Keep humidity below 50%
- Keep pets off of furniture, bedding and other areas where you sit or sleep
- Wash sheets, curtains and lace frequently
- Avoid dangerous chemicals by choosing all-natural cleaning agents
- Use an air filter
- Keep plants in your home
Some ways to prevent COPD from outdoor air pollutants:
- Try not to be outside when trash is being burned
- Wear a mask when in polluted areas, when on a motorcycle or in an open vehicle
- Avoid pollutants in the air by keeping windows closed
- Choose recirculation mode when running your AC
- Avoid breathing through your mouth as much as possible
- If you must exercise outdoors, do it in the morning; air pollution is lowest at this time
Any type of heavy exposure to indoor smoke, such as that from a fireplace or a fire can make you two or three times more likely to have COPD.
This develops from breathing in pollutants or cigarette smoke. The lungs become inflamed and start to produce more mucus. Shortness of breath follows and is most noticeable when carrying out strenuous activities.
COPD Caused By Genetics Or Inherited
Alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency or AATD is when you are missing the band of alpha1- protein. Studies revealed that most such patients had early onset emphysema and a genetic predisposition to this deficiency. Sufferers are highly prone to COPD.
As with COPD caused by smoking, quitting as well as physical rehabilitation are forms of treatment. Those with AATD are also treated with vaccinations, bronchodilators and supplemental oxygen.