COPD and Smoking Risk

Smoking is the leading cause of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, accounting for almost 90 percent of the cases. COPD is a lung disease that worsens over time, making it difficult to breathe. It can impact work, exercise, sleep and other activities. The good news is that, although there is no cure, it can be prevented and treated.

COPD occurs when the airways in your lungs become thick and inflamed. The disease most commonly occurs in people who are over 40 with a history of smoking. Other factors such as long-term exposure to air pollutants, chemicals and dust may also contribute.

What are the symptoms of COPD?

In the early stages of COPD, there may be no symptoms, or you may only have mild symptoms, such as coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and tightness in the chest.

As the disease progresses, symptoms may include:

  • Having trouble catching your breath or talking
  • Blue or gray lips and fingernails from lack of oxygen
  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • Edema in the feet and ankles
  • Weight Loss
How can COPD be prevented? How is COPD treated?

Even though there is no cure for COPD, lifestyle changes and treatments can help you breathe easier, stay more active and slow the progress of the disease. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to keep symptoms from getting worse. Other treatments include proper nutrition, exercise programs, medications to help open the airways, oxygen treatments and in some cases, surgery.

The best way to prevent COPD is to never start smoking, and if you do smoke, quit. Your medical provider can help you find the best solutions to help you quit. Secondhand smoke can also trigger a flare-up.How severe your COPD symptoms are depends on how damaged your lungs are. If you keep smoking, the damage will get worse faster than if you stop smoking.

To learn more about Snoqualmie Valley Hospital Clinic and Karen LaJambe, call 425-831-2313. Click here to learn more.