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The #1 Way to Prevent COPD

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Breath is life. From the first breath to the very last, breath is what connects us all. Breathing is so innate and automatic that we often take it for granted — until we can’t do it anymore. Those with COPD know all too well the impact that breathing disorders have on the quality of life. In addition to the physical challenges of the condition, COPD patients also face immense psychological challenges. COPD is an incurable, life-long disease. However, there are almost always ways to prevent COPD in the first place. Read on to discover the number one way to protect your lungs and the lungs of your loved ones.

COPD made simple

Sixteen million people in the United States could tell you their personal experiences with COPD. What’s worse, millions more have it and don’t even know. As the third leading cause of death worldwide, COPD is a growing global epidemic. This chronic, debilitating disease puts enormous strain on the healthcare system, costing America close to 50 billion dollars each year. Tragically, COPD is close to 100 percent preventable. 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a chronic lung disease where the lungs’ small airways are damaged, making it difficult to get air in and out. In healthy lungs, the pathways leading in and the air sacs that make up the lungs are elastic and stretchy. Normally, the air sacs inflate like balloons and deflate during exhalation. For those with COPD, air is restricted due to one of the following:

  • The walls of the airways are thick, irritated, and swollen.
  • The walls that connect the air sacs are damaged.
  • The airways and air sacs lose elasticity and become hardened.
  • The airways produce excess mucus and clog the passages. 

The two primary causes of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Chronic bronchitis affects the lungs’ breathing tubes, irritating them and causing them to swell. The inflammation causes a build-up of sticky mucus. Unfortunately, the tiny hairs (cilia) that typically move the mucus out become damaged, making it hard to expel the unwanted phlegm. As a result, viral and bacterial infections often develop. 

On the other hand, emphysema destroys the alveoli, the lungs’ air sacs. The delicate transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide occurs in the air sacs. As a result, the lungs lose their elasticity and become hardened. As the walls of the air sacs weaken and break, the body holds too much carbon dioxide and does not get enough oxygen. 

There are four stages of COPD, with stage one being the mildest and stage four exhibiting the most severe symptoms. Stage four COPD is also called end-stage COPD and is considered terminal. 

Symptoms of COPD

Early signs of COPD may include a mild cough that won’t go away, tiredness, and mild shortness of breath. Those in the beginning stages of the disease often think that they have a persistent viral infection. As COPD advances, additional symptoms may include: 

  • Wheezing
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Exhaustion
  • Chronic cough
  • Chest tightness
  • Excess mucus in the lungs
  • Frequent colds or infections
  • Anxiety

Symptoms worsen in later stages of the disease and often include weight loss, swelling in the arms and legs, fast heartbeat, blue fingernails or lips, barrel-shaped chest, and delirium.

COPD as the cause of heart disease 

The heart and lungs are intricately connected, depending on one another for good health. When the body cannot get enough oxygen through the lungs, the heart responds. COPD contributes to multiple heart problems. 

Low oxygen levels lead to increased pressure in the vessels from your heart to your lungs. This pulmonary hypertension causes the heart to work much harder than it should, often leading to right-sided heart failure. In addition, as the right side of the heart enlarges, fluids build in the body, and breathing becomes even more labored. 

COPD can also lead to other heart problems, such as arrhythmias and heart attacks. COPD is associated with a 28 percent increased risk of developing AFib, a cardiac condition that causes the heart to beat abnormally. Increased inflammation, oxidation, decreased oxygen, and medications for COPD can all increase the risk of AFib. COPD also doubles the risk for fatal heart attacks. 

The #1 leading cause of COPD 

Long-term exposure to irritants that damage the lungs can lead to COPD. The number one cause of COPD is smoking. In fact, cigarette smoking is responsible for 85 to 90 percent of all COPD cases. Prevent COPD by quitting smoking today.

From arsenic to acetone, every puff of smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals. In addition, cigarettes contain carbon monoxide, displacing oxygen in the blood. When inhaled, the harmful toxins in tobacco cause permanent changes to the cells within the lungs. As a result, the lungs become inflamed. 

It’s not only cigarettes that cause concern. Cigars and pipe smoke also contribute to COPD. And, if you think that vaping e-cigarettes will protect you, think again! While the evidence is still emerging, recent studies suggest that they, too, may carry significant health risks when it comes to COPD. 

Even if you’ve never taken a puff of a cigarette, you may still be at significant risk for COPD. Being around other smoking individuals, also called secondhand smoke, can increase your odds of developing this devastating lung disease. 

Studies show that passive smoking is associated with an increased risk of COPD. Research also suggests that exposure to cigarette smoke could increase the risk of death. Children who lived with a smoking relative had a 31 percent higher mortality than those in smoke-free homes. There’s no doubt that secondhand smoke increases the risk of COPD. 

Other causes of COPD

While smoking cigarettes is the number one cause of respiratory disease, it’s not the only lung irritant contributing to COPD. Long-term exposure to indoor or outdoor pollutants can also cause damage to the lungs. 

Household air pollution is the most frequent cause of COPD in non-smokers, especially in third-world countries where smoky fuels are used for cooking or heating the home. However, even here in the United States, household air pollution contributes to COPD. Studies have found that repeated exposure to certain household chemicals can damage lung function and contribute to a COPD diagnosis. You can prevent COPD by using natural, chemical-free cleaning products.

Recent studies have pointed to increasing rates of lung disease even in non-smokers, suggesting that workplace and environmental exposure to toxins may also increase the risk of COPD. 

How to prevent COPD

Clearly, the best way to prevent COPD is to steer clear of smoking and keep a far distance from any secondhand exposure. However, there are also other steps that you can take to keep your lungs strong: 

Next steps

There are many unavoidable things in this world, but COPD is not one. Thankfully, COPD is one of the most preventable diseases. Even if you’ve been a smoker in the past, it’s never too late to turn things around. Stop smoking today! By committing to health, you can ensure a long and vibrant future for yourself and those you love.

Eat Well · Live Well · Think Well 

Medical Review 2022: Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD


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As a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society (FHRS) and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS), Kneller provides comprehensive patient care, combining best medical practice with invasive procedures using state-of-the-art technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders.

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About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

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About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

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Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

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Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

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We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

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Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

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Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

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Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.