The Impact of Genetics on COPD
Studies estimate that about 50 percent of smokers will develop COPD. So it’s obvious that some who smoke develop lung disease, but not all. It remains a mystery why this is. Most researchers speculate the answer has something to do with genetics.
The human body is composed of 37.2 trillion cells. Every cell has a nucleus, inside of which is a DNA molecule packaged in threadlike structures called chromosomes. DNA molecules consist of genes, which act as recipes for creating proteins. Each protein carries out some bodily function.
Most genes are the same in all people, although about one percent are unique, making every person unique. Unique genes are the result of gene mutations. Often these mutations are hereditary, and are handed down from parents. This might explain why some diseases, like asthma, are hereditary.
Once the genes responsible for lung disease are discovered, researchers can focus on them to create treatment options to block their effects. Ideally, this will help those with COPD live better with it, and prevent our children from developing lung disease in the future.