It is the third leading cause of death in Americans. Known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, that is what has landed most patients at
About 15 to 20 people of all age groups attended a seminar at the hospital, learning more about the lung disease.
"You can see it in younger folks, but I would say as you get older, age is definitely a risk factor, and the risk increases," says Tricia Cash, care transition pharmacist.
Heavy smokers are usually the ones with the highest risk, as it can eventually lead to emphysema or chronic bronchitis.
"Smoking is the first cause but then patients can develop COPD from exposure to inhalants and environmental exposure such as secondhand smoke or working in factories," says Katherine Troupe, cardio pulmonary nurse practitioner.
With COPD, lungs become stiffer and have more trouble keeping oxygen in.
"Primary symptoms would be chronic cough, increased sputum production, shortness of breath, and sometimes even the simplest activities such as walking down from the house to the mailbox, walking up the steps," adds Troupe.
While it can be treated before it is too late, doctors say it all starts with quitting smoking.
Troupe adds, "Stop smoking. Everyone's heart but that's a large issue. Take a look at the environment you live in."
"There's both inhalation therapies and there are some oral therapies as well as different types of exercises and changes in modalities in their lifestyle to help with that," adds Cash.
By kicking smoking to the curb and taking the proper medications, it can be a good start to saving your own life.
For tips to start kicking that bad smoking habit and to keep your lungs healthy, click here for more information.
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