The development of COPD and the severity of symptoms differ greatly from one person to the next. Some smokers never develop lung disease. And others develop COPD without ever smoking a cigarette. Some of this difference is related to each person’s inherited genes.
This chapter will help identify these risk factors. It will suggest ways that you can change or reduce
your exposure to them. This chapter deals with factors over which you have direct control. You have the chance to take steps to prevent disease or slow its progress. This may be the most important chapter of this Guide.
Readers of this chapter will learn:
- The major known and suspected risk factors for COPD
- Ways to reduce the effects of these risk factors
- Cigarette smoke is the most important risk factor for COPD
- How to find good stop smoking or “smoking cessation” treatments and programs
- Additional risk factors for COPD include lengthy exposure to dusts, fumes and other inhaled toxins
- To find simple lifestyle changes to reduce risk exposure