Imagine being unable to breathe. That’s almost like dying. Now, imagine if you to experience that on a regular basis.
A recent studies reveals that one lungful of breath from Delhi’s air is equal to smoking 84 cigarettes a day. Not one or two, but 84. With an environmental condition like this, it’s not very surprising that lung diseases like bronchitis, asthma etc. are at their peak now.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an inclusive term for a range of lung diseases that causes the air sacs in our lungs to pump in and pump out less air causing troublesome breathing.
Let’s find out what causes and symptoms of COPD.
How to spot COPD?
COPD is a progressive global disease. The symptoms of COPD are easy to spot, but they are very common and can be mistaken for symptoms of other diseases. This is why your illness needs to be checked out by a professional if you are experiencing any or a combination of the following symptoms.
- Persistent chronic cough – with phlegm or dry
- Breathlessness or asthma
- Discomfort (squeezing, tightness) in chest
- Wheezing or whistling sound while breathing
- Bluish hue in lips and nail beds (this represents lack of oxygen)
- General weakness and fatigue
- Weight loss
What are the causes of COPD?
The world offers you a wide range of easily accessible factors which could be one of thee many causes of COPD. Statistically, India is the leading country when it comes to COPD mortality rate. Basically, in a country like India, it’s very easy to damage our lungs unless we are extremely careful.
Let’s have a look at some of the causes of COPD.
Smoking: Smoking and COPD go hand-in-hand. Smoking is one of the primary causes of COPD and COPD is the primary harm caused due to smoking. Almost every person aged 40 years or more with a history of smoking has COPD.
Passive smoking: Passive smoking, i.e. prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke is equally bad, if not more, for your lungs. So yes, another one of the causes of COPD is inhaling second-hand smoke, so this is the best reason why you could get your friend/relative to quit.
Pollution: Tiny particles called ‘irritants’ are present in polluted air which causes damage to your lungs. Exposure to such irritants for a very long time or exposure to highly concentrated irritants for a short time may be one of the causes of COPD.
Biomass fuel: Burning of wood or other fuel originated from plant or animal sources contain particles and gases which causes irritation in lungs. Biomass is a major source of fuel in India and hence a major issue in relation to COPD.
Genetic factors: Even if you live in Iceland breathing the purest air and have never seen a cigarette in your life, you may still suffer from COPD if your parents or your close relatives have fragile lungs.
Long exposure to dust: Say, you work in a mine or a chemical lab. Even after the use of masks, you will be exposed to various dust particles and gases. Occupational exposure to dust is one of the causes of COPD in eighty percent of the employees or workers.
Age: Every bit of our body is prone to wear-and-tear. Lungs are no exceptions. With increasing age, the tiny air sacs in our lungs also lose their elasticity, causing COPD.
Like we can see, even though breathing troubles, or COPD like the medical fraternity like to refer to it is an extremely uncomfortable and serious health condition, yet the causes of COPD are many. It’s best to ensure that we make proper lifestyle choices, so that if not prevent, we can at least minimise the chances of you suffering from it.