Who Is At Risk for COPD?
Most people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are smokers or were smokers in the past. People with a family history of COPD are more likely to get the disease if they smoke. The chance of developing COPD is also greater in people who have spent many years in contact with lung irritants, such as:
- Air pollution
- Chemical fumes, vapors, and dusts usually linked to certain jobs
A person who has had frequent and severe lung infections, especially during childhood, may have a greater chance of developing lung damage that can lead to COPD. Fortunately, this is much less common today with antibiotic treatments.
Most people with COPD are at least 40 years old or around middle age when symptoms start. It is unusual, but possible, for people younger than 40 years of age to have COPD.