According to a new study, those that have the lung condition known as COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are likely at risk for bleeding in their brains.
COPD is a condition that makes it hard for people to breathe. It is often caused from years of damage to the lungs, often from smoking. It frequently shows up as a combination of two breathing conditions; emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD is often found in those that are 60 and older because the damage to the lungs takes time to build up.
Symptoms of COPD include a chronic cough that is long lasting and produces mucus, and shortness of breath that may become worse at certain times, such as when you exercise. The longer you have COPD; the more severe your symptoms will become, and during a flare up of your symptoms, they can even become potentially life threatening.
There is no cure for this condition, but there are treatments. Some feel that the effects of COPD are more problematic to patients than the COPD itself. The most recent study highlights yet another negative side effect of smoking, and COPD.
For the study, researchers examined 165 people that had COPD and compared them with 645 people that have normal lung function. They discovered that those that had COPD were much more likely to have bleeding in the brain, or what is known as cerebral microbleeds.
The results were even more disheartening because it appears that the more severe a person’s case of the disease, the more likely it was that a person would have a microbleed. This is worrisome to health care professionals because microbleeds can cause disability and mental decline in the elderly. Cerebral microbleeds can also indicate disease in the small blood vessels of the brain.
It has been known that those suffering from COPD are also at an increased risk of large vessel disease, but the new results show that COPD can likely affect both the large and small blood vessels, which can be problematic for people working to control the condition.
According to the author of the study, Lies Lahousse, more techniques should be developed to help prevent cerebral microbleeds in those with COPD. While the study did find a link between the condition and cerebral microbleeds, it didn’t get into the cause and effect of the link.
The researchers believe that there should be more research about COPD, the treatments and potential problems that can arise for those suffering with this condition. Until then, everyone can avoid further damaging their lungs by quitting smoking if they do, and talking to their doctors about treatments to deal with COPD and prevent future damage to the lungs.