November is COPD awareness month. COPD is a lung disease characterized by shortness of breath, wheezing, tightness in chest, coughing, and excessive mucus production in the lungs. Each year, over 120,000 Americans die as a result of complications from COPD, while many more suffer severe disability from it. Currently, there are more than 12 million diagnosed cases of COPD in the United States, but experts estimate at least 12 million more may have the disease, but are undiagnosed. COPD is a blanket disease that includes Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis. Currently there is no cure for COPD, but there is effective treatment for the disease. The earlier COPD is diagnosed and treated, the better patients respond to the treatment.
There are several risk factors for developing COPD. Smoking
is one of the biggest risk factors for developing COPD. 80% to 90% of people diagnosed with COPD are either current smokers or former smokers. If you currently smoke, quitting now will greatly reduce your chances of developing COPD. The environment
in which you live is also a major risk factor of developing COPD. Exposure to dust and chemical fumes is attributed to 19% of COPD cases in smokers, and 31% of COPD cases in non-smokers. Genetics
are also another factor in developing COPD. It appears that COPD may run in families, and this may be due to our genetic programming. Some studies have indicated that adults having Asthma
may be 12 times more likely to develop COPD than those without Asthma.
If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have COPD, please consult a doctor to be tested and treated.
For more information on COPD, and Lung Disease, and information on how to quit smoking, check out the following links: