Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
What You Need to Know about the Common Lung Disease
You may have heard of COPD, but what does it mean? It stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is a lung disease in which the lung is damaged. This makes it very hard to breathe. This is how COPD affects your breathing:
- When the airways and air sacs become damaged, it can be difficult to get air in and out.
- In COPD, the airways and air sacs lose their shape and become floppy.
- Less air goes in or out because the air sacs or airways lose their elasticity, the walls between the air sacs are destroyed, or the excess mucus that is produced clogs the airways.
Causes of COPD and What You Can Do About It
Most cases of COPD develop after repeatedly breathing in irritants that damage the lungs and airways. However, the most common cause of COPD is smoking. Most people with COPD are smokers or former smokers. Other things that can irritate the lungs include working around chemicals and breathing in the fumes, working in a dusty area over many years, or heavy exposure to air pollution. If you have COPD, there are healthy choices you can make on a daily basis to help manage your condition:
- Consider a smoking cessation program
- Avoid any other potential breathing irritants you may be exposing yourself to
- Use an air filter in your home
- Eat well and exercise regularly to strengthen your body and lungs