Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of diseases that causes reduced airflow in the lungs. COPD includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Some common symptoms are coughing, increased mucus, and shortness of breath. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 16 million Americans suffer from COPD. It is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Fortunately, COPD is treatable, though not curable.
The main cause of COPD is cigarette smoke. But environmental toxins, including asbestos, can cause COPD, too. There is some debate over whether asbestos directly causes COPD. Several studies have linked asbestos exposure to the development of this chronic disease of the lungs, though. Inhaling asbestos can result in lung diseases that make people more susceptible to COPD. For example, people who have asbestosis or mesothelioma, two diseases caused by the inhalation of asbestos, can develop COPD.
The health risks of asbestos exposure are an important part of asbestos training. Asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma are all covered in META's asbestos courses. As well as the increased risks posed by the combination of smoking cigarettes and exposure to asbestos fibers. But the relationship between asbestos exposure and the risk of developing COPD is worth addressing more frequently, especially considering how many people in the U.S. suffer from COPD.
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