Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD is a term given to a category of lung diseases characterized by difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath, chronic cough and wheezing. Conditions like emphysema and bronchitis may fall in this category of lung diseases. Symptoms in these cases are often sufficiently serious to disrupt the person’s normal functioning and routine activities, and prevent full-time work.
Chronic smoking is one of the primary risk factors for COPD. However, a new study suggests that workplace hazards are also strongly linked to the development of COPD. Studies found that workers in certain sectors, such as mining and construction, are more likely to be exposed to environmental pollutants that can trigger COPD. One recent study found that even surgeons and nurses may not be exempt from the risks of COPD. Regular exposure to the kind of pollutants that can be generated through the use of heat-using surgical tools as well as the heavy disinfectants in a surgical operating room can be sufficient to increase a person’s risk of suffering COPD.
COPD causes not only breathing difficulties, but also related symptoms such as loss of weight, chronic fatigue and weakness. These symptoms may prevent a person from performing manual labour or even sedentary work. In order to be eligible for benefits, it is important to provide evidence that your symptoms make it hard for you to perform jobs that can earn a living.