COPD is the abbreviated form of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. This term is commonly used for describing progressive lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and refractory asthma. The main characteristic of this disease is the difficulty in breathing or breathlessness. No cure has been found for this disease as of yet and it is one of the progressive diseases. However, proper treatment and changes in lifestyle can make an affected individual live a longer and healthier life with COPD. With various reasons that can be considered as the primary causes of this disease, three common causes of COPD have been highlighted in the sections below.
One of the primary causes of developing COPD is smoking. Mostly, COPD affects people aged forty and above and have a past history of smoking. If one is a smoker currently or was in the past, they will be more likely to develop this disease. However, it is not necessary that one will develop COPD only if they indulge in smoking. But many cases of COPD have been found to be smokers. Even if one is a passive smoker, the chances of developing this disease become very high. This is because of the fact that cigarette smoke contains various toxic chemicals which are harmful to the lungs. These toxic substances can weaken the lungs and cause swelling in air tubes and ultimately destroy the air sacs.
With the number of pollutants in the air rising with every passing day, the air has become quite contaminated. There are higher chances of acquiring COPD when one is exposed to harmful substances for a longer period of time. There are various substances such as dust, several chemicals, and fumes that can prove to be harmful to the lungs. Additionally, when one is exposed to certain harmful smoke like organic cooking fuel, they may also be at risk of developing COPD. People working in areas where they could be exposed to such fumes and chemicals could also be at risk of developing the disease.
The chances of developing this disease because of genetic factors are quite low. Only about one percent of COPD cases were found to be caused due to a genetic condition, which is a deficiency of the alpha-1-antitrypsin protein. Alpha-1-antitrypsin is a type of protein which is produced in the liver. This protein is used to protect the lungs once it has been secreted into the bloodstream. A deficiency in this protein could put people at risk of developing COPD.
One should visit a doctor as soon as any signs or symptoms of COPD are noticed. The doctor would then recommend an appropriate treatment path once the type and intensity of the disease have been diagnosed. Although there is no available cure as of yet, one will be able to manage COPD with effective medicines and treatment methods.