Prevention of COPD

Ways To Prevent Developing COPD

Nobody wants to develop Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). This is a term used to describe various chronic diseases that affect the lungs. It covers everything from asthma to emphysema as well as chronic bronchitis and more. People with COPD struggle to breathe. It has been estimated that over 23 million Americans have some form of COPD. Many of them have symptoms and do not know it. This can happen to people who don’t smoke.

Prevention of COPD

Symptoms

During the early stages of COPD, a person may not notice the symptoms. These could include frequent coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest as well as increased breathlessness. Some people believe deteriorating lung function is part of the aging process, and this isn’t true. COPD can develop for years without a person being affected by the symptoms.

Stop Smoking

A good way for a person to prevent COPD is to not smoke. If a person who smokes is diagnosed with some form of COPD, they must stop smoking. Many people struggle to end this addiction. They many need to speak with their physician about smoking cessation programs that are effective. There are also medications available that are effective helping people to quit smoking.

Occupational Dangers

People who have jobs that expose them to dust or airborne chemicals may be at a greater risk for developing COPD. It has been proven that miners who work in places where they are mining gold and cadmium have an increased rate of experiencing COPD. Other occupations such as ones that involve working with gran or cotton dust, concrete dust as well as coal or mineral dust have an increased chance of developing COPD. It is estimated that occupational exposure is the cause of over 19 percent of COPD cases.

Family History

It is important for a person to know their family history. Research has shown there is a genetic component that increases the risk of developing COPD in some people. Individuals with a family history often get COPD earlier and have it more severe. When people have this genetic trait, they can develop COPD without smoking. A person only needs to take a blood test to know if they have this genetic trait.

Secondhand Smoke

Another type of COPD prevention is to avoid secondhand smoke. There has been extensive research done that shows exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of a person developing COPD. Studies from the World Health Organization have shown that over 9 percent of all deaths related to smoking were caused by secondhand smoke.

Air Pollution

Another important aspect of COPD prevention is avoiding air pollution. In many underdeveloped countries, COPD can result from cooking over wood fires. In the United States, people need to avoid the smoke and dust that results from wood stoves not being properly ventilated. It has also been proven that smoke from burning biomass can also be a factor is developing COPD.

Healthy Eating

This is essential for a person to maintain a strong immune system. Doing this helps a person decrease the chances of developing COPD. It is also important to maintain a healthy body weight. When a person is underweight, they may have a weakness in their pulmonary muscles as well as the diaphragm. When someone is overweight, they will increase the pressure on their heart and lungs. This can result in problems with their breathing.

Exercise

This will help prevent COPD by strengthening a person’s lung muscles. This leads to improved breathing. Exercise can also help an overweight person reach a healthy weight. It is important an individual consult with a physician prior to starting an exercise program. They may recommend a program designed for a patient’s individual condition.