Common COPD Triggers

January 11, 2018

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a term used to describe a group of chronic lung diseases that cause symptoms like shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest. Chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and refractory asthma are all part of the COPD family.

COPD symptoms typically don’t appear until substantial lung damage has occurred and will continue to worsen over time. People with COPD are likely to experience exacerbations, or flare-ups, which cause symptoms to be much worse than what they are on a typical daily basis. Being aware of some common COPD triggers can help you better manage this disease and lessen the risk of flare-ups.

  1. Cigarette smoke- While cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD, secondhand smoke is just as dangerous. It’s one of the most common triggers for an exacerbation. For COPD sufferers, it’s important to steer clear of cigarettes.
  2. Other types of smoke- Burning a fire in your fireplace or cooking with a wood-burning stove can cause problems for those with COPD. They can both cause indoor air pollution, which can be a lung irritant.
  3. Dust- Dust can irritate airways and trigger a flare-up. Keeping your living space clean and clutter-free and dusting and vacuuming often can help.
  4. Strong scents- Candles, perfumes, and room sprays and be overwhelming and trigger a reaction in some people with COPD.
  5. Temperature extremes- Extreme heat or cold may be a trigger for some individuals. Staying comfortable indoors is important on days with extreme weather.
  6. Outdoor air pollution- Small particles in pollution can be inhaled and cause inflammation in the airways. Check local air quality reports and stay inside on days when ozone exposure is high.

Taking steps to avoid triggers is key when it comes to staying healthy with COPD. If you or someone you love is struggling with COPD, ActivMed currently has enrolling studies for those seeking new treatment options. Qualified candidates who qualify and participate will receive study-related care at no cost and receive compensation for travel. To learn more and see how you or someone you love may qualify for a COPD study in Methuen, click HERE. To apply for a COPD study in Portsmouth, NH, click HERE.

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