4 causes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

An inflammatory condition that affects the lungs, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD disrupts the airflow through the organ. It is characterized by the inability to breathe while causing immense mucus production, wheezing and coughing. An individual affected by COPD faces an increased risk of getting afflicted by a heart disease, lung cancer and other, different related conditions.

The umbrella term of COPD covers a plethora of progressive lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, refractory asthma and emphysema. The condition is not curable; however, with the right diagnosis and treatment methods it can be managed. There are several causes that are associated with COPD. Most of them being the constant exposure to toxic irritants and or breathing in the same through the air. There may also be genetic and natural elements that can contribute in putting individuals at a higher risk of developing the condition.

Here are some causes that are linked to the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease:

Smoking tobacco
The smoking of tobacco is one of the major causes of COPD among people around the globe. Tobacco smoking includes that done through pipes, cigars and cigarettes. According to study reports, at least 15% of individuals who smoke will develop the disease in their lifetime. The inhaling of tobacco smoke regularly can be identified as the main contributor of COPD. Passive smoking too can be a related cause of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Breathing in the smoke from people taking a drag near one’s home, work or public places can lead to COPD even among those who have never smoked in their lifetime.

Inhaling irritants
Exposure and inhaling certain particles through the air can not only cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease but also worsen the condition further. This cause is especially common among people who work in place such as factories and outdoors. The particles irritate the lungs daily and this leads to them getting inflamed. The irritants can include substances such as vapors, fumes, dust and harsh chemicals. Typically, COPD is triggered when one is exposed to the irritants over many years.

Pollutants in the home
In many places around the world, the pollutants in the home or indoors can be the cause of the condition. This is especially common in homes where people undertake cooking through the burning of natural fuels. The presence of burning fuels in areas that are not well ventilated can lead to long-term lung irritation that further develops into COPD. Children and women are more likely to face the wrath of these indoor pollutants.

There are some people who develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease without ever being exposed to the above factors. This has pushed researchers to believe that genetics can have a role to play in the development of the condition. COPD may be caused by the genes passed down through the family members. However, there is more future research required to establish and identify the link between COPD and genetics.