Ways to Prevent Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Published on November 03, 2016

Ways to Prevent Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Image of older Asian couple walking in a park.

November is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) awareness month.

The pulmonologists at Bronson offer the following advice to help you lower the chances of developing this disease through education and early detection.

What is COPD?

COPD, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, is a chronic lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. The disease is increasingly common, affecting millions of Americans, and is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

What are some of the symptoms of COPD?

  • Chronic cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing

What is my risk of developing COPD?

If you think you have any signs or symptoms of COPD, contact your primary care provider.

What are some of the risk factors?

  • Smoking
    COPD most often occurs in people 40 years of age and older who have a history of smoking. These may be individuals who are current or former smokers.
  • Environment
    COPD can also occur in those who have had long-term contact with harmful pollutants in the workplace. Some of these harmful lung irritants include certain chemicals, dust, or fumes. Heavy or prolonged contact with secondhand smoke or other lung irritants in the home, such as organic cooking fuel, may also cause COPD.
  • Genetics
    Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (AATD) is the most commonly known genetic risk factor for emphysema. This can be caused by the absence of the Alpha-1 Antitrypsin protein in the bloodstream. Without this protein, white blood cells begin to harm the lungs, causing them to deteriorate.

*Source: COPD Foundation

Pulmonary Medicine Care at Bronson

Our board certified pulmonologists and respiratory care teams are here for you during every step of your COPD journey. They specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of conditions that may affect your lungs.

If you currently are diagnosed with COPD, download our COPD daily evaluation tracking sheets. This helps both you and your doctor get a better sense of how you are dealing with this disease.

For additional information on COPD, visit copdfoundation.org or speak with your primary care provider. Looking for a Bronson doctor? For a complete list of providers at Bronson, visit bronsonhealth.com/find-a-doctor or call Bronson HealthAnswers at (269) 341-7723.

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