November is COPD Awareness Month

What is COPD?

COPD stands for: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

It includes “progressive lung diseases emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis.”

The most prevalent symptom of these diseases is usually breathlessness.

The aging process usually includes symptoms of breathlessness, so this symptom can often be mistaken as “a normal part of aging.”

Other symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in chest

It can be determined if any of these symptoms are a part of a COPD diagnosis with a spirometry test.

Did you know that:

“COPD affects an estimated 30 million individuals in the U.S., and over half of them have symptoms of COPD and do not know it.” Early screening can identify COPD before major loss of lung function occurs.

What causes COPD?

Inhaling pollutants is the most common cause:

  • Smoking (“about 90% of the individuals who develop COPD have smoked”)
  • Second-hand smoke (long-term exposure)
  • Fumes, chemicals and dust (long-term exposure sometimes found in workplaces)

(“Genetics can also play a role in an individual’s development of COPD—even if the person has never smoked or has ever been exposed to strong lung irritants in the workplace.”)

 

Source: https://www.copdfoundation.org/What-is-COPD/Understanding-COPD/What-is-COPD.aspx

For more information: https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/

 

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