Understanding When COPD Occurs
If you did not know, November marks National COPD Awareness Month. Throughout the month, we have been presenting some pretty interesting topics that all have to do with COPD. In case you did not know, COPD (known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a progressive form of lung disease ranging from mild to severe and is characterized by the restriction of airflow into and out of lungs. This disease pretty much makes it difficult to breathe.
Over time, COPD causes the lungs to slowly breakdown, requiring the need for oxygen therapy in most cases in order to just function. The effects on each person can be very different. With such a progressive and harmful disease to the lungs, a question that gets tossed around a lot though is “What age does COPD start?” Which is exactly why we hope to answer this very question!
What Age Does COPD Start? Is There An Answer?
To be honest, there is no universal answer to this question. COPD is a condition that occurs at different ages and effects everyone. The sad truth is that anyone can get this disease at some point in their life. Thankfully though, there is some information that has become available over the last several decades that gives us a better idea about how and when COPD can occur.
According to Health magazine, in the year 2000, 3.9 percent of the U.S. population between the ages of 25 to 44 were living with COPD, 7.7 percent between the ages of 55 to 65 and 9.5 percent of people over the age of 74. While this may seem like a small percentage, the realization is that COPD is killing 100,000 people each year and the number is climbing. Usually, the main culprit behind the cause of COPD is smoking.
The very same article does mention that getting COPD in your 20’s or 30’s is a rare occurrence, but it can happen if there is a history of severe asthma, ongoing smoking or in rare cases; through a rare genetic disorder called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. During your 40’s and 50’s, the signs and symptoms of COPD typically start to appear. Shortness of breath, chronic cough and tightness of the chest are the symptoms most often reported by COPD sufferers. COPD in your 60’s and beyond is when the disease does the most damage. Patients require oxygen support and lose over 50 percent of lung function, making breathing that much harder.
The American Lung Association suggests the best way to avoid getting COPD is by not smoking. If you do smoke and are looking to quit, there are ways to make this possible. COPD doesn’t have to be the end. Do some research and ask your doctor everything you can about this progressive disease. If you or a loved one suffers from COPD and want to learn more about treatment options, contact us or call (800) 729-3065.