Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a condition that makes it difficult for you to breathe. Cigarette smoking is the cause of the majority of COPD cases.
“Emphysema occurs when the lung is destroyed by smoke,” says W. Keith Graham, MD, D-ABSM, pulmonologist/sleep medicine physician, Saint Francis Medical Partner. “Smoking causes inflammation in the lining of your airways and makes it difficult for air to get through.”
Other common causes of COPD include secondhand smoke, air pollution and in some cases, genetics. “If you often inhale dust, certain chemicals, air pollution or especially cigarette smoke, you are at risk for COPD,” says Graham. “Additionally, some people have a defect in their DNA that can lead to COPD.”
The best way to avoid COPD is to never smoke or stop smoking, and to use a mask when exposed to pollution. Talk with your doctor to discuss treatment options.
For more information, call 573-331-3000.