4 Risk Factors of COPD

4 Risk Factors of COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disorder that makes it difficult to breathe.


It is expected that deaths caused by COPD will increase and become the third leading cause of death globally by 2020.


Based on a study published on the American Journal of Epidemiology, this specific pulmonary disorder is a major cause of diseases and deaths throughout the world.


It represents a significant economic burden in the society.


COPD develops for years with minimal noticeable symptoms.


Symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing frequently, and chest tightness start to develop through the later stages of the disease process.


Here are the 4 risk factors of COPD:



Smoking is the major cause of COPD, including second-hand smoke or ‘passive smoking’.


If you’re a smoker with strong family history of the disease, then you have higher risk of acquiring it. 


Indoor Air Pollution


Exposure to air pollution at home such as biomass fuels used for heating and cooking adds to the COPD problem. This is also common to poorly ventilated houses. 


The World Health Organization (WHO) stated, “Almost 3 billion people worldwide use biomass and coal as their main source of energy for cooking, heating, and other household needs”.


Indoor air pollution from burning wood or other biomass fuels are projected to kill two million women and children each year.


Occupational Dusts and Outdoor Air Pollution


At least 15% of the American population are affected by air pollution.


These dusts and irritants come from manufacturing companies, automobile and vehicular industries, rubber and metal products, grain dust, textile and leather manufacturing.


Even food and beauty products can be responsible for the lung disorder. 




Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (AATD) is a common genetic risk factor for emphysema. Individuals with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin protein deficiency in the blood may obtain COPD.


The absence of this protein may start harming the lungs and progresses to deterioration, according to the COPD Foundation.


It is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) that every person diagnosed with COPD must be tested for Alpha-1.


Children with weak immune system and repeated lower respiratory infections have greater risk to develop COPD when they become adults.


The disease process is becoming more complex. Constant study and improvement must be done simultaneously for better understanding.


COPD would soon transpire as the most significant disease for doctors to manage worldwide.





World Health Organization

COPD Foundation

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Reilly,K., Gu, D., Duan, X., Wu, X., Chen, C. Huang, J., Kelly, T., Chen, J., Liu, X., Yu, L., Bazzano, L., He, J. (2008) Risk Factors for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mortality in Chinese Adults. American Journal of Epidemiology, 167(8), 998-1004


Brashier, B., Kodgule, R. (2012) Risk Factors and Pathophysiology of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Journal of the Association of Physicians of India. Vol. 60 (pp. 17-21).


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