Causes and Risk Factors
Cigarette smoking - COPD affects the large and small airways as well as the parenchyma. Exposure to cigarette smoke is cited as the most important factor in the development of COPD and progression from chronic bronchitis to emphysema. An inflammation hypothesis has been proposed which shows an increase in inflammation within the alveoli. Cigarette smoke is noted to contribute to almost 90% of the risk for COPD. FEV1 progressively decreases at a rate higher than physiologically normal.
Environmental factors – Exposure to second-hand smoke, biofuel for cooking, and air pollution.
Hyperresponsiveness of airways
IV drug use contributes to emphysema in about 2% of persons
Disorders such as alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency, immunodeficiency syndrome, vasculitis syndrome, connective tissue disorders