Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. COPD includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, chronic asthmatic bronchitis, and other diseases that cause permanent damage to the lungs. Although some of these conditions, such as emphysema, are mainly the result of smoking tobacco, they can also be caused by exposure to workplace pollutants and irritants.
The lungs are made up of very sensitive tissue that is easily irritated. Unfortunately, the damage caused by these irritants is often irreversible, leading to COPD. If you now have COPD due to a workplace irritant, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. To discuss your case, contact an experienced Raleigh lung disease lawyer from Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC, today at 919-851-3311.
Understanding the Effects of COPD
When you breathe, lung passageways called bronchial tubes and tiny air sacs called alveoli must expand and contract in order to inhale and exhale, respectively. If either of these loses their elasticity or ability to hold air, it can prevent you from getting the oxygen that you need to function. COPD occurs when permanent lung damage interferes with the alveoli or bronchial tubes, hindering your ability to breathe.
Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema
The two most common types of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. With chronic bronchitis, inflammation and increased mucus production in the bronchial tubes lead to narrowed airways. This can leave you with an ongoing cough.
Emphysema affects the alveoli, or air sacs. Lung damage occurs when tobacco smoke and other irritants destroy the elasticity of the alveoli so that they can no longer expand to trap and exchange air. The tiny sacs can collapse, which then prevent them from helping you breathe.
Miners, industrial workers, cotton fiber workers, and workers in many other job types are at risk for developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease due to workplace fumes and particles in the air. If you suffer from COPD due to your work, you should contact a knowledgeable Raleigh workers’ compensation attorney from Scudder & Hedrick, PLLC, at 919-851-3311 today for a free initial consultation.