Is Drinking Alcohol Linked to COPD? 

Is Drinking Alcohol Linked to COPD? 

Living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is difficult because the lungs are such a necessary part of a body’s function. They give air and exchange it to bring oxygen throughout the body. Damage to the lungs can greatly impact a person’s ability to not only feel good but live a healthy life. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are two major health issues that can occur, which are similar to COPD, but many factors complicate this diagnosis. Drinking alcohol may be one of them

Tobacco Dependence

Smoking and drinking complicate matters excessively for people with COPD. The National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism record that people with alcohol dependence are three times more likely to be smokers than the average population. People who use tobacco are four times more likely to be dependent on alcohol than the average group. Smoking is one of those things that sneaks up on a person long-term. It may be that a person feels fine for quite a while, then suddenly, things start to head downhill. Since COPD is linked to lung irritants, smoking is one that can cause this problem to occur.

Drinking and COPD

Heavy drinking can reduce levels of glutathione in the body. This is an antioxidant that protects the lungs from smoke damage. Chronic drinking behavior prevents the lungs from keeping a healthy airway. When a person is always working to clear contaminants from the mucous system, alcohol can work against this function and actually keep the body from doing its thing. People who are diagnosed with COPD have been found in studies to be more reluctant to give up drinking due to the diagnosis. This could be because people with COPD drank before being diagnosed. It is hard to determine whether alcohol consumption contributed to this or whether it was unrelated. 

Know the Facts

People who drink have been found to be more likely to smoke. People who smoke are more likely to also drink. This combination increases the risk for several conditions which might aggravate symptoms of COPD. with that diagnosis, quitting smoking and stopping chronic alcohol use goes a long way to reducing symptoms. Some things to consider when looking at drinking behavior and smoking:

  • Knowing how to quit and doing it are two different things. If you need help quitting smoking, drinking, or both, it is best to seek help from professionals who understand addiction and dependency
  • Get support from others who are in the same boat and can offer help on the journey
  • Educate yourself on what smoking and drinking can do so you can be more informed
  • Mark the day on your calendar and announce it to your partner or friends, then quit
  • Remove any reminders of drinking or smoking behavior

The key is to not give up on yourself. Over time, you will find where you are meant to be. It may feel difficult now, but it is not impossible. Whenever possible, adjust your plan, find a new way of doing things, and seek help from therapists and counselors who understand your needs and get down to the root causes so you can heal.

There is a healing that takes place when you are able to find where you can go to get support for the journey of recovery. Our program provides a special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.