The main cause of COPD or Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is cigarette smoking or the exposure to tobacco smoke also. As per estimates, 90% risks for the growth of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is linked to tobacco smoke. This smoke could also be indirect or second-hand smoke meaning tobacco smoke which was exhaled by a smoker and inhaled by a non-smoker.
Other causes of COPD are:-
- Prolonged exposure to polluted air like the one seen with burning wood or coal and also with the industrial air pollutants
- Infectious diseases which destroy the lung tissues of patients with asthma or hyperactive airways may also add to causes of COPD
Damage to lung tissues across time leads to physical challenges within tissues of lungs & clogging of airways with thick mucus.The damage to lung tissue results in poor compliance or ability or elasticity of lung tissue to expand. This reduced elasticity of lungs signifies that oxygen of the air cannot get by the obstructions (i.e. thick mucus plugs) for reaching air spaces or alveoli where exchange of carbon dioxide & oxygen takes place in the lungs. Eventually, the patient exhibits a progressive problem, 1st coughing for removal of obstructions such as mucus 7 then during breathing, especially with effort.
Risk factors for COPD
People smoking tobacco are at highest risk of developing COPD. Other risk factors comprise of exposure to secondhand smoke of tobacco & exposure to high level of air pollution, mainly the polluted air linked to coal & wood. Additionally, patients with hyper-responsive airway like those with a chronic asthma are also at high risk.
A genetic factor known as alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency which places less than 1% patients at an increased risk of COPD & emphysema due to a protective factor (alpha 1 antitrypsin) for the elasticity of lung tissue is absent or decreased.
Other factors which could raise the risk of growing COPD comprise of:
- Intravenous drug usage
- Vasculitis syndrome
- Immune deficiency syndromes
- Connective tissue disorders &
- Genetic issues like Salla disease