Smoking is a leading cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Researchers have not found clear evidence that drinking alcohol can directly cause COPD. But drinking alcohol, especially when combined with smoking, may damage the respiratory system and the body’s immune response. This could increase a person’s risk for COPD.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of conditions that make it hard for air to pass through the lungs. COPD
Researchers have also found some links between COPD and alcohol use. Studies have not shown whether alcohol can directly lead to COPD. But these links, especially when combined with smoking, may be enough to discourage people from drinking alcohol if they are at risk for COPD or living with COPD.
Research shows that drinking alcohol may have negative effects on a person’s lungs and immune response. The authors of a 2016 study concluded that people with alcohol use disorder are
Alcohol may also interfere with the effectiveness of antimicrobial agents in the airway and the body’s natural immune response. Researchers have
The authors of
Although not everyone who drinks also smokes, one study did show that within a sample of people ages 40 to 64, 45% of people who reported that they do smoke also reported engaging in very heavy drinking. Since COPD is most often diagnosed after age
Drinking alcohol is a personal choice. A person with a health issue like COPD or a person with a risk of the disease may wish to take into account the complications that alcohol can cause.
When it comes to moderate drinking, it is still not easy to determine a generally safe amount of alcohol a person could drink if they have COPD or are at risk for the condition. This is due to other individual factors like overall health, the regularity of drinking, and the progression or risk of the disease. A person should discuss their specific situation with a doctor.
In addition, people with COPD also have to consider how any medications they are taking to treat their condition may interact with alcohol.
In addition to smoking, people who encounter high levels of environmental
Another risk factor is alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, or AAT deficiency. This rare genetic disorder reduces the body’s ability to protect the lungs, which makes a person more prone to develop COPD.
A person with any of these risk factors needs to consider them when deciding whether to also drink alcohol.
Researchers have yet to establish a direct link between COPD and alcohol. There are, however, some indirect links. Regular, heavy drinking can damage the immune system and the lungs. This may increase a person’s risk for COPD.
If a person has COPD or is at risk for the disease, they should consider staying away from alcohol. People who tend to smoke heavily when they drink should also consider refraining from drinking. People with COPD or at risk for the disease should consult with a doctor before deciding whether to drink alcohol and how much.