November is COPD Awareness Month. COPD which stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease affects millions of Americans, some of which do not even know they have COPD. COPD includes several progressive lung diseases such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and irreversible asthma. November is dedicated to raising awareness of COPD as well as providing information for prevention and treatment.
Some causes for developing COPD include:
- Smoking – This is the most common cause of COPD in the U.S.
- Inhaling Irritants – Breathing in substances that irritate the lungs such as smoke, chemical fumes, and dust. These irritants can be found in homes and workplaces
- Genetics – COPD can be genetic in some cases. Check with your doctor if you have concerns
If you work in an industry where your job task produces chemical fumes, toxic dust, or other irritants, wear a respirator or other protective measures, and receive a medical examination frequently, if possible.
Some symptoms of COPD include:
- Shortness of breath
- A frequent cough with or without mucus
- Wheezing when you breathe in or out
- Chest tightness
Some symptoms can be related to other health issues, it’s always a good idea to check with your health care provider if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms.