The Main Causes of COPD You Need To Be Aware Of

smoking cigarette

Story at-a-glance -

  • According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the biggest cause of COPD is cigarette smoking. In other cases, COPD may manifest due to a genetic problem
  • There are various risk factors or circumstances that may influence the development of COPD. Continue reading to discover some of the most common causes of COPD

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the biggest cause of COPD is cigarette smoking.1 The longer you’ve been indulging in this habit, the higher your risk of this illness. People who are always exposed to secondhand smoke may be at risk as well.2

In other cases, COPD may manifest due to a genetic problem. A condition called alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency may play a large role in the development of COPD. One of the most common complications of this deficiency is lung disease, usually between the ages of 20 and 50. If lung damage does not occur, you may develop liver disease instead, leading to jaundice or cirrhosis.3

As lung tissue becomes damaged over time, physical changes begin to manifest. For example, your lungs may develop poor compliance, which is the ability of lung tissue to expand. This directly results in less oxygen being inhaled because air is having a hard time going over the obstructions.4

Factors That Increase Your Risk of COPD

There are various risk factors or circumstances that may influence the development of COPD. Some of the most common include:5,6,7

Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: While smoking is already mentioned as a cause, it is also classified as a risk factor.  Long-time smokers have higher chances of developing COPD if symptoms do not yet appear.

Asthmatic Smokers: People who already have asthma but continue to smoke cigarettes increase the risk of COPD.

Occupational Hazards: Certain jobs may expose you to chemical fumes or vapors. Prolonged exposure to these irritants may eventually lead to lung damage.

Poor Ventilation: In developing countries, families who live in poorly ventilated homes are at higher risk of developing COPD because the fumes from burning fuel can affect their lungs.

Age: COPD develops slowly and most people who are diagnosed with it are more than 40 years old.

Genetics: A genetic disorder that causes alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency may cause COPD.

Complications That May Arise From COPD

People who have COPD may develop various complications that can lower their quality of life. These include:8

  • Respiratory Infections: COPD can make your lungs more vulnerable to various respiratory diseases, such as the common cold, flu or pneumonia. In essence, any respiratory infection can affect breathing and further damage lung tissue if you have COPD.
  • Heart Problems: Experts are not sure about the correlation of the heart and COPD, but they noticed that having the disease can increase your risk of cardiovascular issues.
  • Lung Cancer: Patients diagnosed with COPD may eventually develop lung cancer if positive lifestyle changes are not implemented. Quitting smoking may reduce the risk of this from happening.
  • High Blood Pressure: COPD may cause you to have high blood pressure in the arteries that bring blood into your lungs. This condition is sometimes called pulmonary hypertension.
  • Depression: COPD may affect your mental health as a side effect. Breathing problems brought on by the disease may keep you from doing your favorite hobbies, which may contribute to depression.

MORE ABOUT COPD

COPD: An Introduction

What Is COPD?

COPD Symptoms

COPD Causes

COPD Stages

Types of COPD

COPD Treatment

COPD Life Expectancy

COPD Prevention

COPD Diet

COPD FAQ

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