More than 16 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD and over 150,000 die from it every year. In fact, COPD is the third leading cause of death by disease in the United States. Although COPD is a progressive disease that gets worse over time, an air purifier can vastly improve the quality of life for sufferers of COPD.
What is COPD?
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, refers to a group of diseases that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related problems.
The two most common conditions that contribute to COPD are emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Emphysema is a condition in which the tiny air sacs in the smallest air passages of the lungs are destroyed. Its symptoms often include a mucousy cough and shortness of breath.
Chronic bronchitis is inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes. Its symptoms often include daily coughing and mucus (sputum) production.
While these illnesses vary in severity among people with COPD, they typically occur together.
What causes COPD?
COPD develops gradually over time, often resulting from a combination of risk factors:
- tobacco exposure from active smoking or passive exposure to second-hand smoke;
- occupational exposure to dusts, fumes or chemicals;
- indoor air pollution: biomass fuel (wood, animal dung, crop residue) or coal is frequently used for cooking and heating in low- and middle-income countries with high levels of smoke exposure;
- early life events such as poor growth in utero, prematurity, and frequent or severe respiratory infections in childhood that prevent maximum lung growth;
- asthma in childhood; and
- a rare genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, which can cause COPD at a young age.
COPD can also put you at risk for other health issues.
COPD can cause many complications, including:
- Respiratory infections. COPD sufferers are much more likely to catch colds, seasonal flus, and other respiratory illnesses. Any respiratory infection can make it much more difficult to breathe and potentially lead to further damage to lung tissue.
- Heart problems. Having COPD increases your risk of both heart disease and heart attacks.
- Lung cancer. Having COPD significantly increases your risk of developing lung cancer.
- High blood pressure in lung arteries. COPD may cause high blood pressure in the arteries that bring blood to your lungs.
- Depression. About one third of people with chronic illness experience depression. Because COPD leads to difficulty breathing, it can limit your ability to do participate in physical activites, further impacting mental health.
How can an air purifier help?
Pollutants aggravate COPD symptoms and make you more likely to require medical care. Since indoor air tends to be 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air and most of us spend around 90% of our life indoors, it’s especially important for COPD patients to keep the air in their homes clean.
There are many factors that contribute to indoor pollution including cooking, smoking, pets, dust, and outdoor air seeping in. People who live in proximity to wildfires or urban pollution need to be especially alert to air quality.
While your nose and upper respiratory tract typically do a good job of filtering out particles 10 micrometers or smaller in diameter (a human hair is about 90 micrometers wide), anything smaller than that can easily get into your lungs or bloodstream. The right purifier can remove those pollutants before they cause further damage to your health.
What kind of purifier is best for people with COPD?
There are several types of air purifiers including ozone purifiers, ionizers, and UV purifiers . While they all can help remove pollutants, they’re not all created equally. It’s particularly important for people with COPD to avoid any purifier that uses ozone or ions because they can exacerbate symptoms and do further damage to your lungs.
The best bet for people with COPD is to purchase a high-quality air purifier that uses a combination of True HEPA and activated carbon filters. True HEPA filters will remove 99.95% of particles 0.3 microns in diameter or larger. That means that, for every 10,000 particles of that size that enter the filter, only three will pass through, keeping your air free of harmful pollutants.
While HEPA filters are excellent at filtering out particles, they can’t do much for harmful chemicals. Using an air purifier that includes an activated carbon filter will ensure that toxic gases and unpleasant odors are also removed from your home.
For the most advanced in air purifier technology, check out Aeris. Our purifiers have 3 to 5 times more filtration material than other air purifiers, making them the most effective way to capture pollutants and improve the quality of life for people with COPD.