Main COPD Causes
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, or COPD, has several known causes. In general terms, the condition is the direct result of severe, long-term irritation to the lungs and airways. This can lead to scarring, irritation and a gradual loss of lung function.
COPD causes that can contribute to this type of long-term irritation include:
- Tobacco use or exposure to secondhand smoke – Smoking is one of the most common COPD causes. Tobacco products contain hundreds of chemicals, including acetone (a common ingredient in nail polish remover), arsenic (a pest killer) and carbon monoxide (a lethal fume released in car exhaust). When these chemicals are inhaled, they can impede the lungs’ ability to clear mucus from the airways, increasing the likelihood of infection and chronic irritation.
- Exposure to toxic chemicals and dusts – Repeated, high-dose exposure to industrial chemicals and dusts (e.g., silica dust, coal dust and welding fumes) can cause COPD. This is one reason that the incidence of the condition is especially high in miners, welders, petroleum workers and concrete manufacturers. Environmental exposure to air pollutants in industrial and urban environments (e.g., areas near fossil fuel plants) can also increase a person’s likelihood of developing the condition.
- Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency – In this genetic condition, the lungs do not produce alpha-1-antitrypsin, a protein that protects against the damaging effects of certain enzymes. However, alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency causes just 1 percent of all COPD diagnoses.
As the medical community strives to learn more about COPD causes, researchers are also investigating newer and more promising ways to treat the condition. One of these options is stem cell therapy, which is offered at the Lung Institute. Using a patient’s own stem cells to help reduce inflammation, alleviate symptoms and possibly even slow the progression of the disease, this alternative treatment has helped many individuals improve their quality of life following a COPD diagnosis.
While COPD causes a significant change to a person’s health, living a full life with the condition is not out of the question. If you have been diagnosed with COPD, contact the Lung Institute today and we’ll be happy to provide additional information on our stem cell therapy procedures and how they may be able to improve your situation. Our dedicated team can be reached at (800) 729-3065.