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What is COPD and its risk factors?

19 November 2019

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, COPD, is a progressive and life-threatening lung disease that can cause dyspnea (shortness of breath) and can cause exacerbations and serious illness. It is mainly characterized by a persistent reduction in airflow.

This condition is caused by prolonged exposure to irritating gases or particles, mainly tobacco smoke. People with COPD are at increased risk for heart disease, lung cancer, and other conditions.

In 2016, the prevalence of COPD was 251 million cases according to the results of the Global Burden of Disease Study.

COPD usually becomes evident between the ages of 40 and 50 and has the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic cough
  • Expectoration

As the disease progresses, it worsens to the point where daily activities get difficult, such as climbing a couple of steps or carrying heavy objects.

Risk factors:

  • Exposure to tobacco smoke (active and passive smokers).
  • Indoor air pollution (for example, that derived from the use of solid fuels in cooking and heating).
  • Outdoor air pollution.
  • Exposure to dust and chemical products such as vapors, irritants, and gases.

Although COPD is a disease that has no cure, appropriate pharmacological treatment combined with physiotherapy can relieve the symptoms, improve the patient’s quality of life, and reduce the risk of death.

At ABC Medical Center’s Department of Internal Medicine we can provide you with specialized care. Contact us!


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