COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Avoiding smoking and bad air
The best way to keep COPD from starting or from getting worse is to not smoke.
There are clear benefits to quitting, even after years of smoking. When you stop smoking, you slow down the damage to your lungs. For most people who quit, loss of lung function is slowed to the same rate as a nonsmoker's.
Today's medicines offer lots of help for people who want to quit. You will double your chances of quitting even if medicine is the only treatment you use to quit. And your odds get even better when you combine medicine and other quit strategies, such as counseling.1 For more information, see the topic Quitting Smoking.
Stopping smoking is especially important if you have low levels of the protein alpha-1 antitrypsin. People who have this may lower their risk for severe COPD if they get timely shots of alpha-1 antitrypsin that has been obtained from human plasma. Family members of someone with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency should be tested for the condition. If they also have low alpha-1 antitrypsin levels, they should not smoke.
Avoid bad air
Other airway irritants (such as air pollution, chemical fumes, and dust) also can make COPD worse, but they are far less important than smoking in causing the disease.
If you have COPD, you need to get a flu vaccine every year. When people with COPD get the flu, it often turns into something more serious, like pneumonia. A flu vaccine can help prevent this from happening.
Also, getting regular flu vaccines may lower your chances of having COPD flare-ups.9
People with COPD often get pneumonia. Getting a shot can help keep you from getting very ill with pneumonia. Usually, people need only one shot, but doctors sometimes recommend a second shot for some people who got their first shot before they turned 65. Talk with your doctor about whether you need a second shot.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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