What are the risk factors to aware of with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disorder, commonly known as COPD is an inflammatory lung disease, which hinders the airflow from the lungs. Signs and symptoms normally include difficulty in breathing, production of sputum or cough. The disease is mainly caused by prolonged exposure to irritants or substances that cause irritation in the lungs, or by cigarette smoke. People suffering from this disease are also at risk of developing lung cancer or other heart diseases.

Two different conditions contribute towards developing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder. These conditions include – chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Chronic Bronchitis is a lung disease characterized an inflammation of the alveoli sacs while emphysema refers to permanent damage of the alveoli.

There are a number of factors which increases the risk of getting affected with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders. These risk factors include:

  • Genetic factors– Though chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder is not a hereditary disease, sometimes, however due to mutation or defects in the genetic code people may develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Particularly, deficiency in protein α1-antitrypsin is known to result in chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.
  • Age – Generally, the susceptibility to this particular disease tends to increase with age. People who are above the age of 40 are more prone to developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. It has also been observed that the symptoms of the disease appear quite late in the life cycle of the patient.
  • Exposure to tobacco smoke – It is probably the most important risk factor towards developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. If you have been smoking tobacco or marijuana for a long period of time, you are most likely to develop this condition. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder can also be caused by prolonged exposure to secondhand or passive smoking.
  • Exposure to occupational toxins– If you are working in places where you are exposed to smoke for a long period of time, there is a high chance that you may develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. It might also happen to people working in mines or grain handlers, who are exposed to chemical vapors or fumes and dust.
  • Air Pollution– Prolonged exposure to pollutants either indoor or outdoor increases the risk of developing this particular condition. Indoor pollution basically refers to the particulate matter or dust particles emitted from the smoke of fuel used in cooking. These include burning of coal or biomass indoors or using wood stoves which are not properly ventilated.

Exposure to environmental pollutants for a long period of time can also result in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Pollutants emitted from cars or heavy industries and pollution caused due to combustion are primary causes of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.

  • Asthma and smoking– Asthma is a condition in which people suffering from it experience breathlessness or difficulty breathing. If you are suffering from asthma and have a habit of smoking, there is a high chance that you are most likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.

These are some of the factors which tend to increase the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. You should always consult your doctor immediately, particularly if you are facing difficulties in breathing in your old age since the condition has no specific symptoms and early detection is quite integral to its treatment.

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