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What is COPD?
Do you know what the fourth leading cause of death is in the United States? Most of us don’t and due to the lack of exposure on COPD, it’s no wonder why. But, more than 12 million American’s are diagnosed with COPD and that number is growing by the day. To understand COPD, what causes it and how to properly prevent it, here is a brief and startling overview. Chronic Obstruction Pulmonary Disease (otherwise known as COPD) is a progressive disease that begins with a mucus-type cough and includes shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness. While many factors contribute to those diagnosed with COPD, the most common cases are those who smoke or used to smoke, have been exposed to frequent dust or chemical fumes and been exposed to air pollution. Chronic Obstruction Pulmonary Disease effects how much air is able to go in and out of the lung’s air sacs. Fumes such as cigarette smoke, air pollution and dust can affect the air sacs by becoming inflamed, can cause the walls of the lungs airways to become damaged or for the airways to produce more mucus than normal, thus preventing the normal amount of air to pass. When this occurs, the susceptibility of developing COPD is quite common. COPD is a progressive disease that develops and evolves with various symptoms over time. While there is not yet a cure and research is still being conducted on how to reduce damage done to the lungs, there are preventive measures you can take including small, lifestyle changes that will assist in a healthy life for years to come. If you’re smoking, COPD is another reason to quit; if you’re around smokers, politely ask them to smoke somewhere else. If you’re in high pollution areas make yourself aware of surrounding chemical fumes from the household cleaners you use to local air watches for high levels of pollution and prepare accordingly.