Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the leading causes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This inflammatory lung disease causes obstructed airflow, resulting in difficulty breathing, chronic cough, mucus production, and wheezing. Long-term cigarette smoking can lead to COPD. At Annandale Primary Care in Annandale, Virginia, physicians treat patients with COPD. Call or make an appointment online today.

What causes COPD?

Long-term exposure to irritating gases or small airborne particulates such as workplace dust or fumes can cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. A common culprit is cigarette smoke, including second-hand smoke. Between 20 to 30% of chronic smokers develop COPD, although mofallergst will develop reduced lung function.

People who suffer from emphysema and chronic bronchitis are at an increased risk of developing COPD.

Age is also a risk factor because COPD develops slowly over time; many sufferers are over age 40 before they show symptoms.

Can COPD complicate my health?

COPD can have a dramatic impact on your overall health. Sufferers are much more likely to get respiratory infections like colds, flu, and pneumonia. These infections can cause further lung damage. COPD patients are strongly encouraged to get annual flu and pneumonia vaccines. People with COPD are also at an increased risk of lung cancer.

COPD can also cause heart problems by increasing your risk of heart disease. It also causes high blood pressure in the lungs arteries (pulmonary hypertension).

Many people with COPD suffer from depression because of the rigors of complicated breathing. Day after day, it takes its toll.

What can I do to prevent COPD?

COPD is preventable. For smokers, quitting is the easiest measure to take to prevent COPD and preserve your remaining lung health. Annandale Primary Care physicians can help smokers develop an effective smoking cessation program.

If your job exposes you to chemicals or irritants, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) lessons your chances of developing COPD.

There are several early signs of COPD:

Early detection helps COPD sufferers live fuller lives. If you’re experiencing symptoms of this condition, call the Annandale Primary Care office or use the online tool to book an appointment.

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Undiagnosed patients can unknowingly transmit the disease to others. Early diagnosis can help to prevent or stop an outbreak.