Am I At Risk?VIDEO ► see the original please
SmokingCOPD most often occurs in people age 40 and over with a history of smoking (either current or former smokers), although as many as 1 out of 6 people with COPD never smoked. Smoking is the most common cause of COPD-it accounts for as many as 9 out of 10 COPD-related deaths.
Environmental ExposureCOPD can also occur in people who have had long-term exposure to things that can irritate your lungs, like certain chemicals, dust, or fumes in the workplace. Heavy or long-term exposure to secondhand smoke or other air pollutants may also contribute to COPD.
Genetic FactorsIn some people, COPD is caused by a genetic condition known as alpha-1 antitrypsin, or AAT, deficiency. While very few people know they have AAT deficiency, it is estimated that close to 100,000 Americans have it. People with AAT deficiency can get COPD even if they have never smoked or had long-term exposure to harmful pollutants.
For additional information on COPD, visit the NHLBI's Diseases and Conditions Index, Medline Plus, or the American Lung Association's COPD information section.