Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a leading cause of death in the US, affecting at least 16 million Americans. This chronic inflammatory lung disease causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. Individuals with COPD have an increased risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer, and other conditions.
In this blog post, we’ll look at the symptoms of COPD as well as the causes and tips for preventing COPD.
Common COPD Symptoms
For individuals with COPD, symptoms typically don’t appear until significant lung damage has occurred. Symptoms often worsen over time, especially if smoking or exposure to lung irritants continues. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the most common conditions that contribute to COPD.
Symptoms of COPD may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Having to clear throat first thing in the morning due to excess mucus in lungs
- Chest tightness
- Blueness of lips or fingernail beds
- Lack of energy
- Chronic cough that may produce mucus
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Swelling in ankles, feet, or legs
- Unintended weight loss (in later stages)
The good news is that COPD is treatable. Most people with the condition can manage it to achieve good symptom control and quality of life while reducing the risk of other associated conditions.
What Causes COPD?
The main cause of COPD in developed countries is smoking tobacco. In developing countries, it often occurs in people who are exposed to fumes from burning fuel for cooking and heating in a poorly ventilated area. Other irritants can cause COPD, such as secondhand smoke, air pollution, and workplace exposure to dust, smoke, or fumes. Being exposed to chemical fumes, vapors, and dusts in your working environment can lead to COPD.
The best way to prevent COPD is to not smoke, and to avoid secondhand smoke. If you are frequently exposed to fumes, dust, and other irritants at your job, discuss the best ways to protect yourself with your supervisor.
If you or someone you care about has suffered from a workplace injury such as COPD, get advice from a trusted source. Attorney John Schuerman has over forty years of experience with workplace injury claims. He’ll fight aggressively for full compensation for you and your family. Evening and weekend appointments are available in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule your free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.