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How Alcohol is Linked to COPD

Photo by Mylene2401It’s common knowledge that smoking is the primary cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but heavy alcohol consumption can also play a role.

According to a study in the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, heavy drinking can reduce your levels of glutathione, which is an antioxidant that helps protect your lungs from smoke damage. Regular or chronic drinking can also damage your mucociliary transport system, which is constantly working to clear mucous and other contaminants out of your airways.

A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that a third of adults with chronic health problems such as COPD drank regularly; 7% said they drank heavily. And while a 2016 study in Oxford Academic reported that people diagnosed with a medical condition, such as cancer, often quit drinking upon beginning treatment, that same study reported that people diagnosed with diseases such as COPD aren’t as likely to quit.

If you drink regularly and experience breathing problems, go see your doctor. You may have an underlying condition such as COPD.

Read the complete story for more on the links between smoking and drinking and a COPD diagnosis.