people may be more at risk than others for getting the disease, especially if
they have low levels of the protein alpha-1 antitrypsin (alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency), a disorder that runs in families.
Preterm babies usually need to have long-term oxygen therapy because their lungs are not fully developed. This therapy can cause lung damage (neonatal chronic lung disease) that can increase the risk for COPD later in life.
Asthma and COPD are different diseases, even though both of them involve breathing problems. People with asthma may have a greater risk for getting COPD, but the reasons for this are not fully understood.
Risks in the environment
Outside air pollution. Air pollution may
make COPD worse. It may increase the risk of a flare-up, or
COPD exacerbation, when your symptoms quickly get
worse and stay worse. Try not to be outside when air pollution levels are high.
Indoor air pollution. Have good
ventilation in your home to avoid indoor air pollution.
Secondhand smoke. It is not yet known whether secondhand smoke
can lead to COPD. But a large study showed that children who were exposed to secondhand smoke were more likely to get emphysema than children who weren't exposed.4 And people who are exposed to secondhand smoke for a long
time are more likely to have breathing problems and respiratory
Occupational hazards. If your work exposes
you to chemical fumes or dust, use safety equipment to reduce the amount of
fumes and dust you breathe.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
January 24, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this