How Do People Develop COPD?

Air Pollution and COPD
Air pollution: One of the causes of COPD.

Although smoking is the primary cause of COPD, long-term, cumulative exposure to other types of airway irritants and, to a lesser degree, genetics, also play an important role in the development of the disease.

How Do You Get COPD?

Common and Not So Common Risk Factors For COPD: Besides smoking, there are a number of additional factors that place you at high risk for developing COPD. Whereas some of these risk factors may be well-known, others may surprise you.

Alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) Deficiency: AAT deficiency is a genetic condition caused by lack of AAT, a protective protein normally produced by the liver. In some patients, AAT deficiency can lead to emphysema. Discover how a diagnosis of AAT deficiency is made, and how treatment for AAT deficiency emphysema differs from standard COPD treatment.

COPD in the Never Smoker: If you think that being a never-smoker protects you from COPD, think again. The unfortunate fact is that you can be diagnosed with the disease, even if you've never smoked a day in your entire life. Understand the specific risk factors for, and causes of, COPD in the never-smoker, and whether or not the disease affects never-smokers differently from smokers.

Air Pollution and COPD: Did you know that both indoor and outdoor air pollution can cause serious damage to your lungs? Take a closer look at the role air pollution plays in COPD, and how you can improve your indoor air quality.

Occupational COPD: Is your job killing you? Long-term, cumulative exposure to dusts, chemicals and gases in the workplace is an important and under-recognized risk factor for COPD. In fact, about 15% of all COPD cases are work-related. Learn primary and secondary prevention strategies to protect yourself in the work place.

Why Cigarette Smoking is Hazardous to Your Health: According to the American Lung Association, "cigarette smoking is the number one cause of preventable death and disease worldwide". That's why it's important to understand the health risks associated with smoking and its direct link to COPD and other chronic illnesses.

The Health Hazards of Secondhand Smoke: There is mounting evidence to support that secondhand smoke plays an important role in the development, and worsening of, many diseases, COPD included. Find out the facts about secondhand smoke, and how you can prevent exposure.

23 Common COPD Triggers: Like asthma, certain triggers can cause a worsening of COPD symptoms, so much so that hospitalization is sometimes necessary. Take a look at some common triggers for COPD, and create your own personal plan to avoid the ones that bother you the most.

Is it Asthma or COPD? All-too-often, COPD is misdiagnosed as asthma. Although both diseases share similar characteristics, they are also very different in a number of ways. Learn more about the major differences between asthma and COPD by asking yourself some very important questions.

Symptoms of COPD: Many people ignore the initial symptoms of COPD, attributing them to the aging process or smoking too much.

But early recognition of symptoms leads to earlier diagnosis and treatment, which can dramatically improve your prognosis. Check out the following list of symptoms that, if present, should prompt you to pay a visit to your doctor.

Assess Your Risk for COPD: Because COPD is now the third leading cause of death in this country, assessing your risk for the disease is paramount to catching and treating it early in its course, which may dramatically increase your survival and improve your overall quality of life. The following COPD self-assessment tool will help you identify your own risk, so you can then discuss possible COPD symptoms with your doctor.

Diagnosis of COPD: A COPD diagnosis starts with a thorough history and physical, which is then followed by a battery of diagnostic tests. Learn more about the guidelines for COPD diagnosis, as set forth by the Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD).

Guidelines for COPD Treatment: COPD treatment guidelines are outlined by GOLD and optimized for every stage of the disease. Does your COPD treatment follow the current guidelines?