One of the main causes of COPD is prolonged exposure to cigarette smoke, especially if the smoke is inhaled. But breathing in secondhand smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes or dust from the workplace also can cause the condition1.
These inhaled particles can cause the mucus glands that line the bronchi to produce more mucus than normal. In addition, the inflammation that they trigger causes the walls of the bronchi to thicken and swell. Environmental factors and genetics may also play a part in the development of COPD 1,2.
1. Web MD. 10 FAQs About Living With COPDWhat is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?
Accessed on 5 August 2015
2. medicinenet.com. Chronic Bronchitis
Accessed on 5 August 2015.