There are many different factors that may worsen the symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and other lung diseases, and they may be different from person to person. If you are working on finding out what may be causing COPD flare-ups, read on to learn some of the most common factors that can trigger COPD symptoms.
1. Cigarette Smoke
Just as smoking is one of the primary causes COPD, it’s also a major trigger for flare-ups. If you currently smoke, you may want to begin the process of quitting (here are some tips to help you quit). It is also best to avoid secondhand smoke.
2. Air Quality
Air pollution (like gas fumes, smog, and smoke) outdoors is a common trigger for those with COPD. There may also be factors in the air of your home that are causing your COPD symptoms to be worse. These include allergens like pet dander, dust, mold, and pollen. You can reduce these allergens in your home by vacuuming and dusting furniture and surfaces frequently. During times of the year when the pollen count is higher, it is best to limit your time outdoors.
3. Certain Foods
Things like carbonated beverages, highly salty foods, processed meats, alcohol, coffee, and cruciferous vegetables are common dietary triggers for COPD. Pay attention to how you feel when you eat these foods and limit consumption of any that affect your COPD.
4. Extreme Temperatures
Temperature and the level of humidity can have a noticeable effect on those with COPD. When the air is cold, it causes humidity levels to drop and dry out airways. These airways can become irritated, making it harder for mucous membranes to produce enough fluid for comfortable breathing. When it is too hot, airways can also become inflamed. If you need to be outdoors when it is cold, try covering your mouth and nose with a scarf. When it’s hot, try to remain indoors with air conditioning. It is also advisable to use a humidifier in your home when the air may be dry.
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This blog is for educational purposes only; talk to your provider to understand recommendations specific to you.