If you suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), then you probably already understand how crucial it is to keep the air you’re breathing as clean as possible. What you may be less certain about is the role that air purifiers can play in helping improve the symptoms of COPD: how do they work? Can they really make a difference? Should you invest in one?
Fortunately, air purifiers really can make a difference for sufferers of COPD, vastly improving their quality of life and turning their home into a livable, breathable and safe environment.
What is COPD?
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disease wherein the airways (i.e. tiny tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs) are partially blocked, making breathing more and more painful over time.
Two common diseases fall under the umbrella of COPD and often occur together:
Emphysema – Reduced Breathing, associated with an increase in coughing and wheezing.
Chronic bronchitis – Inflammation of the tubes within the lungs. This can lead to fluid buildup, coughing, and wheezing.
Who Suffers from COPD?
Over 12 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD in one form or another, but it is believed that twice as many actually suffer from it. Since the disease is progressive, many people don’t realize they have it until the symptoms are noticeable – and even unmanageable. As early intervention is key, if you suspect you have COPD, see a doctor as soon as possible for diagnosis and management.
COPD is most common in smokers and people who have been exposed to secondhand smoke, but they are not the only people who are at risk. Others may suffer from COPD because of exposure to pollutants in the air, a history of respiratory infections as a child, or a genetic predisposition to conditions like emphysema.
Can An Air Purifier Help?
An air purifier is not a substitute for the standard medical treatment that doctors recommend for this serious disease. However, it can make life significantly more bearable. One of the consequences of narrower airways is the that airborne particles the respiratory system can normally accommodate and filter out get trapped in the airways instead, causing painful, difficult breathing. These particles include dust, pollen, chemicals, pet dander, allergens and more: the byproducts of everyday life that healthy lungs can handle, but can wreak havoc on sensitive or restricted airways.
When your lungs are stressed from reduced capacity, or inflammation, any irritation from airborne particulates or chemicals can make your breathing even more difficult. This makes clean, filtered air crucial to successful symptom management. An air purifier will help remove the airborne irritants before they can come in contact with your lungs and contribute to breathing difficulties. For many people, an air purifier is an excellent complementary strategy and a critical source of comfort and relief.
Prevention is always the key to remaining healthy, so placing air purifiers in every major room of your home and in your workplace will help prevent airway and lung damage for people who are at risk of contracting COPD. If you have to choose just one room, we recommend the bedroom, where you spend at least 8 hours of your day and where essential, restorative rest takes place. Breathing more easily throughout the night will give you the energy to take on the day.
If you or a loved one already suffers from COPD, using an air purifiers will prevent your stressed airways from being further stressed by the task of filtering out new particulates and chemicals.
The Best Air Purifiers For COPD Patients
This is such an important topic that we’ve actually compiled a separate list of air purifiers that we recommend for people who suffer from COPD. You can check that out our list of Best Air Purifiers for COPD here.
In general, we recommend looking for air purifiers with HEPA filters, which are able to filter particles as small as .03 microns at 99% efficiency. They can often filter even tinier particles that are .01 microns or smaller, too. If you live with a smoker, you might opt to look for a model that can filter the chemicals and odors associated with cigarette smoke. Activated carbon is a common means of removing airborne chemicals and odors that can also cause irritation for COPD sufferers.
The Alen T500 Tower Air Purifier utilizes HEPA and activated carbon technology and is a favorite among our customers with COPD:
“I have COPD and breath so much better since I have 2 of them. Picks up so much..I never turn mine off…I highly recommend it..” – Marlene F.
Still need guidance? Our expert team of product specialists are familiar with COPD and can help you choose the right COPD air purifiers for your particular living and working situations.
Taking Preventative Measures for Your Family
In babies, the lungs are the last organ to fully develop. It is extremely important to provide clean indoor air for babies and children so that their airways, which are far tinier than adults, will not be damaged early on. Never smoke or allow anyone else to smoke around children, and always provide high-quality air purifiers for the child’s bedroom.
Allergies and asthma can make COPD significantly worse, so if your child suffers from one of these common ailments, an air purifier will also help remove allergens from the air that can make the symptoms worse.
Living With COPD
COPD presents many challenges, but they don’t have to get in the way of living a normal life. Your doctor will help you design a management plan that includes diet, exercise, and medication. If you’ve been newly diagnosed and you’re feeling anxious, research will be your best friend. We recommend going to the COPD Foundation website for detailed information on living with the disease, social support, and a hotline you can call if you wish to speak to someone in person.
As you go on this journey, keeping the air in your home clean will be an important step for not just your lungs but your mental well-being. Let us help you turn your home into your sanctuary with our collection of COPD air purifiers!