November is COPD Awareness Month
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death by disease in the U.S. according to the American Lung Association. COPD, which is often preventable, includes the diseases known as chronic bronchitis or emphysema. COPD symptoms are characterized by inflammation and damage that cause airflow blockage and breathing problems. COPD cannot be cured. Medical intervention is necessary and managing a clean and safe environment helps minimize respiratory exacerbations.
COPD Risk Factors
COPD is higher in those with that had respiratory infections during childhood. Another genetic and rare condition called Alpha-1 antitrypsin (A1AT) deficiency causes lung tissue inflammation and damage and immediately places these patients at high risk for COPD.
The leading cause of COPD is smoking cigarettes. Cigarette smoke contains nicotine and thousands of other chemicals that can severely and permanently harm the lungs. Studies have shown that even secondhand smoke places a person at high risk for developing COPD.
The air we breathe indoors and in the environment impacts our respiratory wellness on a frequent basis. While not as frequent, exposure to dust, fumes, and chemicals can significantly damage lungs resulting in COPD. More often, when the person already has COPD, the risk for complications from breathing in contaminants is significantly higher.
Reduce Risk Factors
- Avoid cigarette smoke is the primary way to avoid COPD. Even quitting smoking after years of doing so may contribute to a longer and healthier life.
- Avoid exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke and other toxins and chemicals.
Managing Air Quality
Monitoring and taking action to maintain the best the air quality indoors is an important factor to help prevent respiratory symptoms and exacerbations of COPD.
Mold (fungi), bacteria, and other microbes grow best in moist environments found in common spaces such as the home, work, gym, and school. Ventilation is one of the most important methods to maintain good air quality by managing high humidity and dampness in the environment. Several key steps to help manage indoor air quality include:
- Prevent water damage to any space. Water often enters undetected through roofing and siding leaks, cracks in foundations, and leaking pipes and causes mold problems.
- Humidity in the home and other areas should be maintained between 30 and 50%. Dehumidifiers and proper ventilation (e.g. bathroom and kitchen ventilation fans) will help control humidity.
- Dust and dander are inherently everywhere. Maintaining a clean and dust-free environment especially in areas where it is wet or humid is important. Dust, dander, and other particles feed the mold and bacterial growth.
- Air filters in air condition and heating units are often forgotten. Plan to change the air filters in air conditioning and heating units (e.g. furnace) at least once a year.
How Do You Determine Air Quality?
Everyone detects and reacts differently to microbes. Many people have no reaction at all while others can actually go into anaphylactic shock. If respiratory symptoms or illnesses are noticed, measuring the varying particles and their quantities is recommended. Service Team of Professionals (STOP) does not perform indoor air quality testing because STOP provides the remediation services. We recommend hiring a professional indoor air quality testing company to test the air quality. The information is helpful to not only to STOP, but also to the primary care provider managing respiratory symptoms.
Did the air quality testing indicate a problem? The next step is to hire a professional microbial remediation company like STOP. STOP Metrowest in Holliston MA provides mold and other microbial remediation with the most up-to-date knowledge and training to properly remove mold without cross-contaminating other areas. STOP has the equipment and products to safely perform mold removal.
STOP Metrowest is an IICRC Certified Firm – safe, quality, and compassionate service is our priority! We provide rapid microbial / mold assessment and remediation in Framingham MA or other Metrowest MA communities like Sudbury MA, Hopkinton MA, and Newton MA. Call STOP MetroWest at 508-841-3082.
For more information, visit our webpage at STOP Metrowest.