Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, otherwise known as COPD, is a progressive disease that causes difficulty breathing. To understand COPD, you need to understand a bit about your lungs. The tubes that allow air to travel to your lungs are called bronchial tubes. These airways branch many times into thousands of smaller, thinner tubes called bronchioles. The tiny tubes then end in a bunch of tiny round air sacs. When you breathe in, each air sac fills up with air and inflates. Breathing out allows the air sacs to deflate. COPD occurs when airways and air sacs lose their elasticity, air sacs become damaged, airways are swollen or inflamed, or when airways make more mucus than usual and become clogged. These damages result in the lungs struggling to get needed oxygen.
Though COPD is a progressive disease, meaning it gets worse over time, it is possible to live with. Oxygen therapy is a great option for living with COPD. An oxygen tank can help you to keep living your life while still being able to breathe in and out healthily. Portable oxygen tanks allow you to be mobile while still receiving needed oxygen.
Most COPD patients (about 85-90%) suffer as a result of cigarette smoke. The harmful chemicals found in cigarettes weaken your lungs defense against infections. Passages in your lungs can narrow, air tube swell, and destroy air sacs, which leads to COPD. Injured lungs have trouble moving enough air in and out, making it hard to get the oxygen you need.
Besides causing COPD, smoking can also trigger flare-ups in COPD patients. When your lungs are already damaged, it’s very dangerous to expose them to more potential damage.
Exposure to Lung Irritants
Though smoking is the most common cause of COPD, it is certainly not the only cause. Non-smokers are also at risk. Any exposure to lung irritants can cause permanent damage to your lungs. Being in any sort of environment that unhealthy air quality could lead damage your air sacs and leading to difficulty breathing. The most common culprits of lung irritants are second-hand smoke and environmental stresses. Whenever possible, avoid breathing in any smoke, chemicals, dust, or anything that could harm your airways. If your air quality is bad, stay inside until it improves. Make places where you send a majority of your time, smoke-free. Spend time in the fresh air and keep your lungs healthy.
It’s rare but there is a genetic condition that can lead to COPD. This deficiency affects the body’s ability to produce protein or Alpha-1 that protects the lungs. Without needed protect, the lungs are left exposed to harmful irritants. When your lungs are damaged, you are likely to develop COPD. Alpha-1 deficiency can lead to serious lung disease and even liver disease. If you have any knowledge of this deficiency in your family line, you can get tested to see if you are at risk. Early diagnosis could help you to avoid disease down the road.