COPD at a Glance: Learn the Basics of This Disease

In layman’s terms, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can be considered a lung condition in which the respiratory system is damaged. COPD patients usually have difficulty breathing due to the obstruction of the airways. This is a serious lung disease in which there is physical limitation as to how much air the tubes leading to our lungs can carry. COPD can mostly be found in people who currently smoke, or have history of chronic smoking in the past.

How does COPD occur?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease occurs via a number of factors. The most common cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is cigarette smoking, which is also the most common cause of lung cancer.

  • The role that diet and nutrition play in lung cancer formation has been constantly examined over the years. Fresh fruit and vegetables can significantly lower the risk of developing COPD. They contain necessary antioxidants that help prevent damage to cells in our lungs
  • Cigarette smoking is paramount among environmental causes of COPD. It has been implicated as a major cause of all cancers. In addition, health care and industrial workers who are repeatedly exposed to radiation also bear an additional health risk for developing COPD.
  • Certain families seem particularly prone to the development of COPD, just as others seem to have a greater probability of developing lung cancer. Although some cancers have been identified as having an official hereditary link, no clearly defined genetic factor has been established for the majority of COPD cases. However, it is well advised for those with strong family history of lung disease to undertake preventative measures and early detection of possible obstructive conditions in the lungs.
  • Some underlying illnesses seem to make some individuals prone to COPD. Individuals with certain types of preexisting lung diseases are at a higher risk of developing COPD, although both conditions are frequently connected with cigarette smoking.
  • Although viruses have long been established as a cause of obstructive lung diseases in many animals, they have only recently been implicated strongly in human lung cancer cases.

COPD Quick Facts:

  • According to the World Health Organization, COPD ranks 4th as the single-most cause of death.
  • COPD is estimated to be prevalent in at least 6 percent in 11 different Asian countries.
  • In 2015, more than 2.5 million people were noted to have COPD worldwide.
  • There are more than 400,000 COPD-related deaths per year due to exposure to biomass fuels.
  • People are more like to be found with COPD if they are above the age of 65.

As one can see, COPD can mostly be found in people who currently smoke, or have history of chronic smoking in the past. Inhalation of various forms of pollutants, such as smoke (from fire, for example), dust, chemicals, or other environmental pollutants can also cause COPD.

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