Nearly all respiratory problems a smoker develops are directly related to smoking, and COPD is no different. Kicking the habit is no easy task, but your life may depend on it. Here’s how smoking cigarettes can cause and trigger COPD, among other illnesses.
What Smoking Does to Your Lungs
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other chronic lung conditions account for 73 percent of smoking-related illnesses. Inhalation of cigarette smoke leads to inflammation in your lungs, which results in the thickening of lung tissue. This thickened tissue makes it more difficult to breathe in and out, which is a major symptom of COPD.
Trouble breathing and oxygen deprivation go hand in hand, and unfortunately, that combination increases your risk of further infection. Once you’ve developed COPD, continuing to smoke causes the disease to progress, bringing about sudden airway narrowing. This one disease (and there are many others) can quickly transition from nonexistent to life-threatening.
While COPD is already difficult to deal with, it becomes less manageable when you add other illnesses. Smoking increases your risk of developing lung cancer, esophageal cancer, and heart disease. On top of that, your chance of having a stroke escalates as well.
Strategies for Quitting
The best solution is to quit smoking. You can find relief by speaking with your doctor about a home oxygen concentrator machine, but even oxygen therapy isn’t a permanent solution unless you stop smoking.
Smoking is highly addictive—that’s why it’s so difficult to stop. Your doctor may recommend a nicotine replacement to help you kick the habit while mitigating your withdrawal symptoms. These replacements can come in the form of a patch, pill, or even chewing gum.
Behavioral therapy can be surprisingly effective for smoking cessation. Breaking down your feelings and the mindset that causes you to smoke can help you stop.
Now that you understand how smoking cigarettes can cause and trigger COPD, take hold of your life and work toward breathing easier.