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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a respiratory disease that causes a person to have difficulty breathing due to abnormalities in the airways in the lungs. A number of factors can increase a person's risk of developing COPD.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a condition in which there is an abnormality in the small airways of the lungs that causes limited airflow into and out of the lungs. Some processes will cause the airways to become narrow. There may be damage to parts of the lungs, mucus blocking the airways, inflammation and swelling of the lining of the airways. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, coughing, production of mucus (sputum) and wheezing.

Common symptoms of COPD include:

  1. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  2. Chronic cough, often accompanied by phlegm
  3. Fatigue

As COPD progresses, people find it more difficult to perform normal daily activities, often because of shortness of breath. There may be a considerable financial burden due to limited workplace and home productivity, and the cost of medical care.

As the condition worsens, people with COPD may need to receive extra care at home or be admitted to the hospital for emergency care. This situation can even be life threatening.

The following are some risk factors for COPD:

Cigarette Smoke Exposure

The most significant risk factor for COPD is long-term smoking. The more years a person smokes and the more packs of cigarettes smoked, the greater the risk.

Smoking habits are known to interfere with the effectiveness of some respiratory defense mechanisms. Cigarette smoke products are known to stimulate mucus production and decrease ciliary movement. Decreased ciliary movement can stimulate the accumulation of thick mucus and trapping of particles. As a result of changes in the anatomy of the airways in smokers, there will be changes in capacity with all kinds of clinical symptoms. This is the main cause of chronic obstructive disease.

Secondhand smoke or people who are exposed to large amounts of secondhand smoke are also at risk.


Asthma is a chronic inflammatory airway disease. This disease may be a risk factor for developing COPD. The combination of asthma and smoking increases the risk of developing COPD.

Air Pollution Exposure

Long-term exposure to chemical fumes, fumes, and dust in the workplace can irritate and inflame a person's lungs. Air pollution such as motor vehicle fumes, industrial exhaust gases, coal briquettes, smoke from forest fires are also risk factors.

In addition, exposure to smoke from burning fuel can have the same effect. In developing countries, people who are exposed to fumes from burning fuel for cooking and heating in poorly ventilated homes are at higher risk of developing COPD.


A rare genetic disorder, alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency is the cause of some cases of COPD. If a family member has COPD, other family members also have a higher risk of developing the disease. Other genetic factors may make certain smokers more susceptible to the disease.


COPD will develop slowly over years. Symptoms of the disease generally appear in people aged 35-40 years. This is because as a person gets older, there will be degeneration of the respiratory muscles and decreased tissue elasticity. So that the strength of the respiratory muscles in inhaling oxygen decreases. Then because of the increasing age factor, the more alveoli are damaged and the body's resistance is getting lower.

Although COPD is a progressive disease that gets worse over time, COPD is treatable. With proper management, most people with COPD can achieve good symptom control and quality of life, as well as reduce their risk of other related conditions.



  1. (2022). Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  2. Kementerian Kesehatan Indonesia. (2022). Apa saja Faktor Risiko Penyakit Paru Obstruktif Kronik (PPOK)?
  3. Mayo Clinic. (2020). COPD
  4. H. J. Mukono. (2010). Faktor Risiko Penurunan Penyakit Paru Obstruktif Kronik
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