Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD for short, is a lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe due to obstruction of airflow through your lungs. There are two primary forms of COPD: Chronic bronchitis, which involves a long-term cough with mucus, and Emphysema, which includes damage to the lungs over time. COPD is the third leading cause of death for Americans, and most of those deaths can be prevented.
According to the American Lung Association, 85-90% of COPD deaths can be prevented simply by not smoking. Other factors contribute to this condition, and knowing about them can help you maintain healthy lungs.
Here are some tips to help you prevent COPD.
First of all, you’ll want to eliminate your smoking risk. If you have never smoked, it’s best not to start. If you habitually smoke, stop now. Ask your doctor for help if you have trouble trying to quit smoking. There are a variety of medications and smoking cessation programs that can help you reclaim your life.
Avoid Secondhand Smoke
This fact may be surprising to hear, but secondhand smoke is just as damaging as direct smoking. Secondhand smoke is the combination of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette as well as the smoke breathed out by smokers. Even more alarming, secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds of these chemicals are toxic, and about 70 of them can cause cancer. 2.5 million adults have died from inhaling secondhand smoke since the effects of secondhand smoke started being recorded in the 1970s. According to the World Health Organization, 10% of smoking-related deaths are due to secondhand smoke.
Avoid Air Pollution
In other countries, smoke from cooking over wood fires is a significant cause of COPD. In the United States, dust, smoke from unventilated wood stoves, and smoke from burning biomass may contribute to the condition. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency advises checking your daily air quality by using AirNow, a free national repository of real-time air quality data and forecasts in the U.S.
Know Your Family History
Unfortunately, you can be doing everything right to avoid COPD, but if your family has a history of COPD, then you are predisposed to it. Some people with relatives who have COPD end up with the condition at a younger age and more severely. Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is an inherited disorder that may cause lung disease and liver disease. Signs and symptoms of this condition and the age at which they appear to vary among individuals. Individuals who have Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency are susceptible to getting COPD without smoking. A blood test can tell you if you carry the gene.
Detect COPD Symptoms
COPD symptoms include a cough that produces an excessive amount of mucus (known as smoker’s cough), shortness of breath during exercise, wheezing, and tightness in your chest. Frequent chest colds that take longer to get over than before are also common. Symptoms tend to worsen over time.
If you have been diagnosed with COPD, you’ll need an oxygen concentrator to provide you with an endless supply of clean oxygen. Contact O2 Assist today to learn more about our home oxygen concentrators and portable oxygen concentrators.