While COPD, which is an inflammatory disease of the airways that can cause a number of different respiratory symptoms, is quickly becoming one of the deadliest diseases in the world, it’s something that’s not often discussed by the average American. But the World Health Organization believes that, by 2030, COPD could very well be the third-leading cause of death.
With that in mind, researchers all over the world are trying to find ways to help those who are forced to deal with COPD day in and day out. Unfortunately, people with COPD can’t get rid of it. Rather, they have to learn how to manage it by doing whatever they can to avoid exacerbating their COPD.
Exacerbation of COPD is one of the main fears associated with the chronic disease because it worsens the respiratory symptoms that people experience and, over the long run, exacerbation is what ends up killing people. The causes for exacerbation are usually unknown and it’s caused by different things for different people. But in general, the blood inside of a person isn’t able to saturate as much oxygen as normal during exacerbation, which is obviously problematic.
It can take months to recover from exacerbation and those who have to deal with COPD everyday live in constant fear of it. But fortunately, Italian researchers have found that smoking cessation in general and vaping in particular might help those who have COPD. The researchers, led by the notable Italian university director Riccardo Polosa, studied 48 patients with COPD and made some encouraging discoveries. Scroll down to read more about what they found.
How Vaping Might Help Those With COPD
As a general rule of thumb, those who are suffering with COPD are usually told to stop smoking right away. Reason being, cigarettes are the reason most people typically have COPD in the first place, and they serve to make the COPD symptoms even worse. So quitting is the first step to treating COPD.
But the problem that many people have is that they are not able to quit smoking. Those who have smoked long enough to encounter COPD struggle to make it happen, and they often need to use something to alleviate the nicotine withdrawal symptoms that take place when you quit smoking.
This is where vaping with e-cigarettes can come in handy. While doctors in the U.S. will usually not recommend vaping as a healthy alternative to smoking, the Italians researchers found that those who started using e-cigarettes while battling COPD saw a decrease in the risk associated with exacerbation. Even those who continued to smoke several cigarettes per day while simultaneously vaping found that they were able to lower their risk of exacerbation.
What Riccardo Polosa’s Study Showed
While studying those who suffer from COPD, Polosa was able to find hard evidence that suggested that vaping could help them with exasperation scares. The numbers don’t lie, and they proved that there does seem to be a correlation between fewer exasperations and e-cigarette use.
On average, the study indicated that those COPD patients who used e-cigarettes regularly reduced their average exasperations from 2.3 per year down to just 1.8 per year after 12 months. Additionally, they knocked that number all the way down to 1.4 per year after 24 months. And somewhat surprisingly, even those who used cigarettes and e-cigarettes at the same time saw a decrease in the number of exasperations. After 24 months, they were experiencing just 1.5 per month.
Unfortunately, the study found that there wasn’t a huge difference in the lung function of the COPD patients once they started using e-cigarettes. Several of them did downgrade their COPD level—from a stage 4, which indicates very severe COPD, down to a stage 3 or even 2, which is severe or moderate COPD—but not everyone showed the same signs of improvement.
Still, the findings were certainly nothing to sneeze at! They should, at the very least, leave those who have COPD with some semblance of hope for the future.
Why Additional Research Into the Effect Vaping Might Have on COPD Patients Is Necessary
The only problem that we spotted with Polosa’s study—and it’s a problem that those who are both for and against vaping experience with most studies in this particular field—is that it just wasn’t large enough. Studying 48 people can give you some idea of how vaping can help those who have COPD, but in order to get true results that will resonate with people, Polosa and his fellow researchers need to study hundreds and even thousands of COPD patients.
Ideally, someone out there will take the work Polosa has done here and expand upon it. It seems as though e-cigarettes can help those with COPD, and if they can, governments should study it more right away. With COPD on the rise, people are going to need to find reliable treatments for it, and vaping could be something that’s used to reduce the symptoms of the disease.
There is one thing that we definitely know when it comes to COPD, though, and that is that COPD is deadly and will continue to affect those who choose to smoke. You aren’t necessarily guaranteed to get COPD if you smoke traditional cigarettes, but the chances of it happening increase substantially. And once you have COPD, you have it for life and have to find ways to manage it.
Regardless of which smoking cessation device you choose to use to quit smoking, you should do it right away if you value your health, because COPD is unforgiving and will change your world if you ever get it. There is a reason Polosa and others are conducting studies on it all the time, and it’s not something you want to have to try and live with.
As always, we will continue to let you know more about the studies that are being done on vaping so that you can learn more about how e-cigarettes can offer potential health benefits. New studies are popping up everyday, and the hope is that eventually there will be enough research for doctors here in the U.S. to start having serious conversations with their patients about how vaping can help them.