Smoking and COPD
The Harm of Smoking with COPD
COPD, which is short for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, can refer to several diseases that result in breathing problems or airflow blockage. These diseases include emphysema, asthma, and chronic bronchitis. When affected with COPD, a limited supply of air is able to travel through the airways and into the lungs.
This can be due to a few reasons. Lungs can be damaged when the airways and sacs are no longer able to stretch and shrink properly. The walls between these air sacs in the lungs may also be destroyed, inflamed, or clogged with mucus. When these airways are damaged and COPD is in its early stages, you may experience an ongoing cough, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, or wheezing.
As COPD progresses, other symptoms may occur such as trouble breathing or speaking, low oxygen in the blood, causing blue lips or nails, low mental alertness, rapid heartbeat, swelling of extremities and weight loss. If someone has COPD and they continue to smoke, the damage to the lungs will increase at a rapid rate.
COPD is typically caused by smoking. About 80% of COPD related deaths are due to smoking. While smoking increases one’s risk of developing COPD, about 25% of people with COPD get it without smoking. Avoiding smoking while young helps to prevent COPD because the lungs are able to develop in a healthy way for adulthood.
In order to maintain COPD, you must have routine thorough exams by doctors. The most important thing to do is to learn how to quit smoking. It is also important to stay away from secondhand smoke, as it is equally as damaging. Some other symptoms of COPD must be maintained in order to live a full life.
Those who have trouble eating due to shortness of breath may need to follow s certain diet plan with small and frequent meals. Resting prior to eating may also help. It is important to get a full range of nutrition to support all of the functions of the body.
People who have chronic breathing problems may need to do light exercising and learn how to conserve their energy. Breathing strategies may be able to help people who are affected.
People may feel overwhelmed when figuring out how to quit smoking. Some tips for this include behavioral therapy, working with a counselor or psychologist to find alternatives to smoking. Nicotine replacements such as gum, inhalers, sprays, and patches can also help. Certain medications may be prescribed to help quit smoking as well. A combination of these treatments may be necessary for success.
There is not a cure for COPD, but quitting smoking is a very important factor to lengthen life. Lifestyle changes need to take place in order for the lungs to become healthy and work properly. With proper lifestyle changes, those who are affected by COPD will be able to breathe easier and remain active for longer periods of time. The progress of COPD may also slow down. It is important to not create further damage for lungs that are already having a tough time functioning properly.