Chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, or COPD, is a serious lung condition and is one of the leading causes of death in the country. It affects millions of people, while many of them remain undiagnosed. This disease can be preventable. Understanding the causes and risks associated with this condition will help to create simple tips to control it. One may even be able to slow down the progress of this disease even though they are affected by it.
The most common causes and risk factors associated with this condition include:
- Smoking – Smoking cigarettes or other products containing tobacco is one of the leading causes for getting COPD. The risks for COPD increases when smoke is inhaled directly.
- Passive smoking or second-hand smoking – Inhaling cigarette smoke is yet another cause for developing COPD. If an individual lives with a chain smoker or is around an individual who smokes, they are at risk for developing COPD.
- Pollution – Inhaling air containing dust, fumes, smoke, or other toxic substances can lead to this lung condition.
- Genes – People with certain genetic conditions are found to be at risk of developing COPD, when compared to others.
- Family history – Having a family history of COPD enhances the risk of developing this condition.
- Asthma – Untreated asthma may lead to COPD over a period of a few years.
The following tips will help to reduce the risk of developing this condition:
- Quit smoking – This is the first thing to be done to avoid having this condition. If you are smoking and have COPD, quitting smoking would help to slow down the progression of this disease.
- Avoid lung irritants – Avoid exposing yourself to irritants like smoke, fumes, toxins, second hand, smoke, or dust.
- Avoid infections – Follow hygienic habits, like washing your hands, and try to avoid infections.
- Exercise regularly – This will help to reduce shortness of breath and increase your lung capacity.
- Get vaccinations – Getting the flu vaccination on time can reduce the risk of infections that can worsen the symptoms of this condition, if you have it. Pneumococcal vaccinations protect against bacterial pneumonia. This is particularly important if you are at a high risk of developing COPD.
If you already have COPD, do remember to:
- Take medications on time and limit your risks for flare-ups
- Get flu shots every year
- Frame a convenient exercise schedule in discussion with the doctor
- Meet the doctor if the symptoms become severe