Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Risk Factors
Anyone can develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with prolonged exposure to pollutants or other chemicals that can damage the lungs. However, studies show that there are risk factors to be considered and these can increase your chances of getting COPD. It is important to know what can cause COPD so that we can avoid these factors and remain healthy.
Below are risk factors that may increase your chances of acquiring chronic obstructive pulmonary disease:
Cigarette smoking – studies found that this is the most significant cause of COPD. Although not all smokers can develop COPD based solely on cigarette smoking, there is an 80 to 90% chance that smokers can develop the illness. Second-hand smoke can also increase the risk of developing COPD.
Genetics – COPD is most common among whites, specifically Americans and those of the northern European decent. It has something to do with the blood component alpha-1-protease, a hereditary deficiency. Around 70,000 Americans are suspected to have this genetic deficiency and it is responsible for 1-3% of COPD cases.
Age – COPD is most likely to develop as we get older, especially with constant exposure to smoke, pollutants, chemical fumes, and anything that damages our lungs over time.
Gender – COPD is more common in men than in women. However, this finding may be due to the fact that men smoke more than women. The fact is, the more you smoke and the more you surround yourself with smokers, you are at risk.
Lung infections – COPD can develop as a result of weak lungs. Those that have lung disease or emphysema are highly at risk of developing COPD because lung infections damage the lung tissues making it less elastic and more prone to other diseases.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a progressive disease and to avoid developing it, we should always take care of ourselves. If you are a smoker, you must quit smoking. Avoid smoking areas or if your friends are smoking, stay at a distance until they are done. At home, you can check for harmful particles like toxic metal or other chemicals that may be mixed in the air that you breathe. TestCountry.com offers air quality testing kits that you can use to see whether or not the air that you are breathing at home puts you at risk of developing COPD.