If the costs of cigarettes or fear of lung cancer weren’t good enough reasons to kick your cigarette habit, consider that smoking is the leading cause of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
COPD causes coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and other symptoms that worsen over time and make it difficult to breathe. This progressive disease is the third- leading cause of death in the U.S. “If you’ve ever had a cold or suffered from allergies, you know what it’s like to have trouble breathing, mucus caught in your throat and chest, and a cough. Someone with COPD experiences these conditions all the time,” explains Nirmal Parikh, MD, Medical Director of Respiratory Therapy and the Blood Gas Laboratory at HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth).
Of the nearly 15.7 million Americans diagnosed with COPD, most are current or former smokers. “Quitting smoking is the most important first step you can take to prevent and treat the disease. Although there is no cure, treatments and lifestyle changes can make it easier to live with COPD,” Dr. Parikh says.
For more information on Respiratory Care visit www.hahv.org/hahv/respiratory-care.aspx