The diagnosis of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, often comes with a stigma attached. While COPD is often caused by cigarette smoke, there are several other factors that can cause the condition. Air and occupational pollution is said to cause up to 20% of COPD diagnoses. A small number of COPD cases are said to be caused by a genetic component, an alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency.
Regardless of the what’s caused COPD, the disease is under-diagnosed and growing at an alarming pace. Learn more about options for those with this deadly condition below.
Limit Potential Irritants
For those with COPD, it is important to limit exposure to potential airway irritants. For those working in a factory, HVAC or some other career that exposes them to pollution, it may be time for a career change. While lung damage from previous pollution cannot be “undone,” limiting future exposure may help manage symptoms.
Ditch the Cigarettes
While not all cases of COPD are smoking related, the majority are. Quitting smoking, as well as avoiding second-hand smoke, is one of the best ways to limit COPD-related symptoms. The American Lung Association states that smoking causes 90% of COPD-related deaths. Stop the cycle and ditch the cigarettes, ASAP.
Exercise is extremely beneficial in managing COPD symptoms. Even mild exercise such as walking a few times per week can help strengthen the heart and cardiovascular system. Aerobic exercise is helpful because it improves circulation, which in turn helps the body to better use oxygen.
While there is currently no cure for COPD, the above tips will help manage symptoms. If you are seeking a new option for this deadly condition, consider volunteering for a research study. Research participants often receive comprehensive diagnostic evaluations, may be exposed to a new treatment before the general public, and receive regular, in-depth care from a board-certified physician, all at no cost. Insurance is not required, and compensation may be available.