Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), although often preventable, is the third leading cause of death by disease in the U.S. according to the American Lung Association. COPD is often referred to as chronic bronchitis or emphysema, each with symptoms that cause airflow blockage and breathing problems that cannot be cured and only managed clinically including managing the person’s environment.
COPD Risk Factors
Cigarette Smoke: The leading risk factor for COPD is smoking cigarettes. Cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals that can severely and permanently harm the lungs. Unfortunately, secondhand smoke is a high risk, which means that even those that are only exposed to cigarette smoke from others can develop COPD.
Medical Conditions: COPD is higher in those with a history of childhood respiratory infections or with a rare genetic condition called Alpha-1 antitrypsin (A1AT) deficiency that causes the A1AT protein deficiency, ultimately causing lung tissue inflammation and damage in addition to other organ damage.
Air Quality: Indoor air quality and the environment in which we breathe impacts our respiratory health. Respiratory exposure to dust, fumes, and chemicals can significantly damage lungs. When the person already has respiratory insufficiencies like COPD, the threat is worse.
Reduce Risk Factors
COPD, in most cases, is preventable. Avoiding 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 exposing children and others to any secondhand smoke. Protecting those with medical conditions (like A1AT deficiency that already compromise health) by eliminating exposure to dust, fumes, mold, bacteria and chemicals is important. Managing the air quality indoors is an important factor to help prevent respiratory symptoms and exacerbations of COPD.
Mold (fungi), bacteria, and other contaminants thrive in moist environments and can negatively impact the air quality in any space (e.g. home, work, gym, school, etc). Insufficient ventilation significantly increases the risk of high humidity and dampness in the environment. Several key steps to help manage indoor air quality include:
1. Prevent water intrusion into the building through roofing and siding leaks, cracks in foundations, and other structural vulnerabilities.
2. Maintain the humidity in the area between 30 and 50%. Dehumidifiers and proper ventilation (e.g. bathroom ventilation fans) are key to controlling humidity.
3. Minimize dust gathering especially in areas where it is wet or humid. Dust, dander, and other particles promote mold and bacterial growth.
4. Regularly monitor and change the air filters in air conditioning and heating units (e.g. furnace).
How’s My Air Quality?
You may or may not smell mold and other contaminants. Everyone reacts differently to different particles and the varying quantities of any particle. If you note symptoms similar to a cold or allergies, you may have an air quality problem. The only way to know for sure is to hire a professional indoor air quality testing company to test the air for the type and number of particles and allergens in the air.
Do you have a known mold or other unknown microbial growth in the area? Did the air quality testing indicate a problem? The next step is to hire a professional microbial remediation company like Service Team of Professionals (STOP). STOP Metrowest in Holliston MA has the knowledge and training to properly remove mold without contaminating other areas of your home, work space, etc. STOP has the most up to date training and equipment to safely and quickly stop the damage from occurring and then restore the area to a safe environment.
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.