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Chronic Respiratory Diseases

There must be someone around you, maybe a friend or family member or even a colleague, who is suffering from some form of chronic respiratory disease. Check out this primer to identify if you or someone around you is suffering from these diseases.

What is chronic respiratory disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the most prevalent diseases in the world and results in blocking of the airways. The disease usually refers to two types of disorders: chronic bronchitis and pulmonary emphysema. There are a few factors that are responsible for causing COPD.

One of the biggest factors for COPD is smoking. People who smoke will naturally be at risk for COPD as its carcinogens directly damage lung function.

The most vulnerable groups for COPD include the youth and the elderly. The youth are physically underdeveloped and very sensitive to dust. The youth are also more likely to be exposed to outdoor activities so there is a higher chance of exposure, which may affect lung development over time. For the elderly, advanced aging increases vulnerability to disease and studies have shown that older adults are at greater risk of respiratory and cardiovascular problems from ozone pollution.

People who work outdoors can also face higher risk of respiratory diseases given increased environmental exposure and physical exertion which increases the amount of air (and possible exposure) inhaled.

We can prevent COPD and other respiratory diseases by simply following some simple advice:

• Quit smoking immediately or don’t start

• Actively avoid exposure to secondhand smoke

• Observe occupational health measures by wearing a mask to reduce inhalation of dust and other toxic exposures

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