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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)


Health experts list the causes of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease beyond smoking, including environmental toxins, genetic predispositions, and occupational hazards.


GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD):

  • Chronic inflammatory lung disease causing obstructed airflow from the lungs.
  • Two Main Forms:
    • Chronic bronchitis: Involves persistent cough with mucus.
    • Emphysema: Involves gradual lung damage.
  • Most COPD cases involve a combination of chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Causes of COPD:
  • Primarily caused by prolonged exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter.
  • Mainly linked to tobacco smoke; over 70% of cases in high-income countries result from smoking.
  • Global Variation in Causes:
    • In low- and middle-income countries, 30–40% of COPD cases are due to tobacco smoking, and household air pollution is a significant risk factor.
Signs and Symptoms:
  • Primary symptoms include difficulty breathing, chronic cough (often with phlegm), and fatigue.
  • Flare-ups, exacerbating symptoms, can occur and may necessitate additional medications.
Associated Risks:
  • Individuals with COPD face an elevated risk of heart disease, lung cancer, and various other health conditions.
Treatment Approach:
  • COPD is incurable, but lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and avoiding air pollution can improve the condition.
  • Treatment involves medications, oxygen therapy, and pulmonary rehabilitation.

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024