The Risk Factors for COPD

Wendy Henderson avatar

by Wendy Henderson |

Share this article:

Share article via email

The number one risk factor for developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is smoking. In around three-quarters of cases, the COPD patient is either a smoker or has been a smoker. The onset of symptoms of COPD usually begin in middle age but it’s not unusual for symptoms to start in a person’s 40s.

MORE: How having COPD affects life expectancy.

In addition, if you’re a smoker with a family history of COPD then you have an even higher risk of developing the disease according to the National Institutes of Health.

There are other risks factors for the condition, which include being exposed to lung irritants such as chemical fumes, dust from industries, air pollution and secondhand tobacco smoke.

In rare cases, COPD is genetic. If a person has an alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, they are more likely to develop a serious lung condition like emphysema, and the risk is further increased if the person smokes. This is usually the cause in cases where the patient is under the age of 40. People who already suffer from asthma may also go on to develop COPD.

MORE: The four stages of COPD

COPD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.