Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) occurs when the lungs and airways become damaged and inflamed.
It's usuallyassociated with long-term exposure to harmful substances such as cigarette smoke.
Things that can increase your risk of developing COPD are outlined below.
Smoking is themain cause of COPD and is thought to be responsible foraround 9 in every 10 cases.
The harmful chemicals in smoke can damage the lining of the lungs and airways. Stopping smoking can help stop COPD getting worse.
Some research has also suggested that being exposed to other people's smoke (passive smoking) may increase your risk of COPD.
Exposure to certain types of dust and chemicals at work may damage the lungs and increase your risk of COPD.
Substances that have been linked to COPD include:
The risk of COPD is even higher if you breathe in dust or fumes in the workplace and you smoke.
Exposure to air pollution over a long period can affect how well the lungs work and some research has suggested it could increase your risk of COPD.
But at the moment the link between air pollution and COPD isn't conclusive and research is continuing.
You're more likely to develop COPD if you smoke and have a close relative with the condition, suggesting some people's genes may make them more vulnerable to the condition.
Around 1 in 100 people with COPD hasa genetic tendency to develop COPD called alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency. Alpha-1-antitrypsin is a substance that protects your lungs. Without it, the lungs are more vulnerable to damage.
People who have an alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency usually develop COPD at a younger age, often under 35 particularly if they smoke.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties. COPD is a common condition that mainly affects middle-aged or older adults who smoke. Many people don't realise they have it.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) makes breathing increasingly more difficult. But it develops slowly over many years and you may not be aware you have it at first. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, a persistent cough and wheezing, etc.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) occurs when the lungs and airways become damaged and inflamed. It's usually associated with long-term exposure to harmful substances such as cigarette smoke, or fumes at work, etc.
See your GP if you have persistent symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). They may also carry out or arrange for you to have a breathing test called spirometry and some of the other tests like chest x-ray, etc.
If your COPD is affecting your breathing, you'll usually be given an inhaler. This is a device that delivers medication directly into your lungs as you breathe in. If you experience symptoms regularly throughout the day, a long-acting bronchodilator inhaler will be recommended instead.
It's important to take good care of yourself if you have COPD. Some of the main things you'll be advised to do are; take your medication, stop smoking, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, etc.
Read the story of Lynn Ashton, who was diagnosed with COPD after she noticed her breathing was getting worse.
Read the story of Eddie Brownlow, who has diagnosed with COPD after smoking 15 cigarettes a day for most of his life.