What is COPD?
The COPD Foundation gives this definition:
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an umbrella term used to describe progressive lung diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis.”
How is a person diagnosed with COPD? Here are a few of the major symptoms:
- Frequent coughing
- Increased breathlessness
- Tightness in the chest
But, you may say, I have some of these symptoms and my physician told me I don’t have COPD. Others think these symptoms are part of the normal aging process. This is why it’s important to follow up with your doctor. He will consider giving you a spirometry test, and will seek to determine the correct diagnosis.
COPD is More Common Than People Realize
Of an estimated 30 million individuals in the U.S., a large number, as high as one half, display early symptoms of COPD and aren’t aware of it. Early discovery and treatment can prevent major loss of lung function as time goes on.
What are some Common Causes of COPD?
Smoking cigarettes, pipes, cigars, vapes and second-hand smoke are at the top of the list. Next come pollutants, fumes, chemicals and dust. Genetics can also play a big part. COPD often runs in family members. Then there is the workplace. Are you, or have you ever been, exposed to chemicals, pollutants and irritants in the workplace?
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, there are 3 major airborne threats in a home: allergens, irritants, and dangerous household chemicals. Some of these, such as airborne allergens and pollutants, are circulated by our heating and cooling systems into the air we breathe inside our homes. Why? Because people often neglect to change the air filters when needed, or they put off getting necessary seasonal maintenance tune-ups.
Dirty side of filter vs. Clean side
Allergens come from pollen, dust mites, and pets, and can cause your immune system to react.
Irritants won’t necessarily trigger your immune system, but can include compounds that make breathing more difficult. Common indoor air irritants include chemicals used in painting, finishing, or staining furniture.
Pollutants include pesticides, tobacco smoke, chemicals, dirty air, exhaust, etc. Some of these have odors you can detect, but others are odorless.
Take these steps to help purify the air in your home:
- Ventilate your home by opening windows and running exhaust fans.
- Do not allow smoking in your home.
- Remove clutter (clutter collects dust!).
- Minimize dust mites by washing your bed linens weekly, lowering the humidity level, and keeping pets off your furniture.
- Keep floors and carpets cleaned and vacuumed.
- Install an air filtration system.
- Have your air conditioner inspected regularly for mold and mildew in the duct work.
- Reduce your exposure to household chemicals, such as paints, varnishes, and cleaning products.
Is Your Present Heating and Cooling System Helping or Hurting your COPD?
At Abel we are very concerned about the air quality in today’s homes and businesses. Abel’s Council-certified Indoor Environmental Consultant (CIEC) strives to keep customers informed of the adverse effects an inadequate HVAC system can have on a person with COPD, or any family member who suffers from asthma, allergies, or other respiratory ailments.
We offer the following recommendations to consider along with those listed above:
- Check and replace your heating and cooling system air filters often. Even once every month or more.
- Keep vents and ducts clean and clear.
- Be sure drain pans are cleaned and free from mold or sludge.
- Do you live in a humid climate? You may want to consider adding a whole house dehumidifier for the summer and a humidifier for the winter. This can make a big difference in your pulmonary health. Another consideration is to add a UVC emitter. These are not expensive, and do a remarkable job in filtering out germs, bacteria and virus spores.
UV Lamp HVAC filter
Maybe you never thought about a heating and cooling company placing much importance on your health, indoor air, and breathing issues. At Abel this is very important to us. We’ll be glad to come take a look and evaluate your options.
Have more questions? Need to make an appointment? We’re ready to help you have a healthy and cool summer. Call 952-472-2665 or Contact Us now.