COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, develops over the years, while unaware of anything, we begin to cough more and more often and tire with little effort. The disease takes its toll mainly among smokers. How to prevent COPD then, and once we are diagnosed – how to treat it?
What is COPD?
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a condition that causes reduced airflow through the airways and inflammation of the lungs, which is an abnormal reaction of the respiratory system to harmful substances in the air you breathe.
Unlike asthma, COPD causes permanent, irreversible damage to the bronchial tubes and lung parenchyma, but the medications used improve the symptoms.
In Poland, over 10% of people over 40 suffer from COPD – mainly heavy smokers.
What causes COPD?
- tobacco smoke – is one of the major risk factors for developing COPD. As many as 90% of the sick are cigarette smokers! Passive smokers and people who smoke pipes and cigars are also at risk of the disease. In the case of electronic cigarettes, there is not yet enough scientific research to confirm a lower incidence of COPD. However, we know that by smoking e-cigarettes, we do not absorb carcinogens or combustion products into the lungs,
- atmospheric air pollution (smog),
- occupational exposure to dust and chemicals in the inhaled air, e.g. silica in metal ore mines, in the construction industry, as well as coal dust and dust from cotton and grain,
- severe respiratory diseases in childhood and pulmonary tuberculosis.