Smoking, aging, and COPD


    As per the CDC, in 2018, an estimated 16 million people in the United States live with a smoking-related disease, and 1 out of 5 deaths is due to cigarette smoking. Smoking-related maladies can vary from cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, and lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). While cancer-related deaths are the leading cause of premature deaths, respiratory diseases like COPD rank second among heavy smokers. An estimated 328 million people have COPD worldwide. COPD was also estimated to be the seventh and tenth leading cause of disability in high-income countries and low or middle-income countries, respectively. COPD is a clinical manifestation associated with the lung, leading to shortness of breath, cough, exercise intolerance, and sputum production. Lung function tests and chest X-ray primarily detect COPD. Although constant exposure to pollutants and particulate matter can lead to progressive COPD, a survey conducted by Copenhagen City Heart study for a period of 25 years showed that the absolute risk of developing COPD among smokers is 25% higher than non-smokers. Another survey conducted in South Carolina similarly reported that 25.6 % of active smokers who had smoked ≥ 30 years had developed COPD.


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    Author: Himanshu Gogoi