CODP (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is a disease by which breathing becomes very difficult without assistance from an oxygen tank once the disease has progressed and will eventually kill you! It is well know that smoking is a major culprit behind COPD. The smoke causes and creates permanent damage to the lungs air-sacs. There are other inhaled elements that can put you at risk. 1) Chemical Fumes. 2) Dust 3) Air Pollution 4) Second hand smoke. After years of one or more element exposures, it can take years for this disease to present itself. COPD is most commonly found in people 60 and over, those that have had lung infections as a child, those that got emphysema in their 30-40’s, or families where this disease manifested itself. Symptoms – Chronic cough and/or mucus when coughing, shortness of breath, especially during exercise, weight loss and weakness. As the disease progresses exacerbation flare ups can be mild to life threatening by suffocation, or drowning in your own mucus fluids.
Smoking is a leading cause of preventable CODP. What chemicals in cigarettes are responsible for causing CODP? This is a good question, The National Cancer Institute states there are over 4,000 chemicals released from tobacco smoke. The tar residues by-product that enters your body includes such poisons as arsenic and cyanide! The American Lung Association shows each year 400,000 Americans die from lung disease. There are 35 million more Americans in any given year that are now living with chronic lung disease! Even with these unbelievable statistics American smoking consumption is as strong as ever, “Nicotine has the addictive power of heroin and cocaine.” (Dr. C. Everett Koop, Surgeon General).
It is also known that second hand smoke gravely impacts others around them. Many smokers do not believe their habits impact anyone else but themselves. The American Heart Association secondhand mortality statistics: Secondhand smoke is directly responsible for 37,000-40,000 cardiovascular and 3,400 fatal lung cancer victims per year. And according to the American Cancer Society, secondhand smoke is responsible for over 150,000 lung infections and 750,000 middle ear infections within our children each year. There are basically two diseases associated with COPD. 1) Chronic Bronchitis – When airways that carry oxygen from the lungs to the body get inflamed producing mucus, this makes it hard to breath. 2) Emphysema – This is where the lungs air sacs become inefficient at intake and pushing air. Once these air sacs become damaged the body begins to starve and die due to lack of oxygen-enriched blood. At this point the patient always feels short of breath with a constant feeling of suffocation. Over time COPD gets worse. The damage to your lungs at this point is permanent. However, you can take steps to stop further damage to your lungs and body.
-See a physician if you smoke, or a cough that will not go away, or mucus when coughing.
-Medication will boost your chance 50% to quit smoking for good (American Cancer Society).
-Ask a physician for other tests if you suspect exposure to other things in your past.
-Request a doctor to listen to your lungs and a spirometry breathing test.
-Request chest X-rays to rule out other potential problems, or pathologies.
Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET. 2009 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.