Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a group of inflammatory lung conditions that includes bronchitis and emphysema. The damage from COPD is irreversible and the global burden is increasing nationally and worldwide. COPD is the third-leading cause of death and the fifth-leading cause of disability in the United States (American Lung Association, 2016). The total economic burden is close to $50 billion each year.
Smoking is the most important risk factor for COPD, responsible for 90% of all cases. While there is no single tool to diagnosis COPD, there are some important signs that warrant medical evaluation. These include:
Productive cough (phlegm)
Recurrent respiratory infections
Shortness of breath (initially with activity then at rest)
Treatment focuses on altering the course of disease, reducing exacerbations, improving quality of life and increasing survival (Panos, 2016). The most important thing you can do to prevent COPD is to never start smoking, and if you smoke, to quit. This includes first and second exposure tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, pipes and vaping products. While considered a safer alternative, vaping products also increase risk of both asthma and COPD (Osei et al., 2019).
Talk to your health care provider about options to help you quit smoking. There are many free resources that can also help you find your way to success. Support is available via phone @1-800-QUITNOW, via the web @ www.smokefree.gov and via live chat @ https://livehelp.cancer.gov/app/chat/chat_launch
Dr. Shanna Greminger
Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism
“Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world.
I know because I have done it thousands of times.”
- Mark Twain
American Lung Association (2016). Lung health and diseases. Retrieved from http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/learn-about-copd/how-serious-is-copd.html
Osei, A.D., Mirbolouk, M., Orimoloye, O.A. et al. (2019). The association between e-cigarette use and asthma among never combustible cigarette smokers: behavioral risk factor surveillance system (BRFSS) 2016 & 2017. BMC Pulmonary Meicined 19, 180. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12890-019-0950-3
Panos, R. J. (2016, March 15). COPD: Update. Retrieved from https://www.ahcmedia.com/articles/137452-chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease-update
This information is generalized and intended for educational purposes only. Due to potential individual contraindications, please see your primary care provider before implementing any strategies in these posts.