Just like every other condition, COPD comes with its very own inventive myths. Indeed there are many myths associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, most of which could not be farther from facts. So instead of believing everything you hear and read about COPD, it is always recommended that you confirm new information with either your primary physician or by looking up in an accredited, reputable resource. With that mind, here are seven common COPD myths you should already stop believing.
1. COPD only happens to smokers
Since the leading cause of COPD is long-term smoking, and most people who have COPD are or were smokers, there is a common misconception that only people who smoke can develop COPD. In addition to smoking, genetic and environmental factors, like air pollutants and chemical fumes can also cause COPD.
2. COPD only happens to old people
No, COPD is not an old people’s disease, either. While most people get a diagnosis after their 40s and 50s, if you have an alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, which is the only genetic cause associated with COPD, you may begin showing symptoms as early as your mid-30s.
3. Quitting smoking heals the lungs
Sadly, COPD is a lifelong and incurable disease. Once you develop COPD, it is impossible to reverse the damage that has been done to the lungs over time. Giving up smoking is still imperative to prevent the condition from advancing and to prolong your life.
4. It’s difficult to treat COPD
On the contrary, after you stop smoking, there are many effective COPD treatments to alleviate symptoms and lower the rate of recurrences, such as inhaled steroids, bronchodilators, and oxygen therapy.
5. COPD is life-threatening
With proper care and treatment, COPD is not a deadly disease. Of course, it is not dangerous with the right treatment, some lifestyle modifications, and a smoke-free life. You have to be mindful of the other risk factors such as fumes and air pollutants.
6. Asthma and COPD are the same
Even though both COPD and asthma cause difficulty breathing and wheezing, they are entirely different conditions. Asthma has different causes, some differing symptoms, and treatments.
7. Eating healthy doesn’t improve COPD symptoms
People with COPD need to expand a lot more energy, meaning calories, to be able to breathe. However, you cannot get that energy you need from a poor diet, so eating healthy provides your body with enough energy with healthy calories and prevents COPD recurrences.
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