For those that suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, you know how important it is to make sure the air you breathe is as clean as possible. However, not everyone with COPD understands how air purifiers can help to improve your COPD symptoms and the transformation it can make in your quality of life. With the ability to make a real difference for those that suffer from COPD, it can create a safe and livable environment in your home. Here are a few tips and reviews to help you find the best air purifier for COPD.
COPD is a term used to describe a group of progressive lung diseases, such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. An individual with COPD suffers from a reduction in the flow of air to the lungs, making it hard to breathe. As COPD progresses, breathing becomes more painful over time. Some common symptoms include wheezing, a chronic cough, and shortness of breath. The damage caused by these progressive lung diseases is irreversible.
Although COPD is incurable, many individuals find some relief via oral steroids or steroids that are inhaled. Others utilize rescue inhalers. Whichever course is prescribed, with proper treatment, a person with COPD can experience relief from their symptoms, and any additional damage to their lungs can be minimized. In fact, with the right diagnosis and treatment, individuals can live for many years with COPD.
A progressive lung disease, COPD partially blocks your airways making it more painful to breathe over time. COPD cause two common diseases that can also happen together:
- Chronic bronchitis – With inflammation of the tubes inside your lungs, chronic bronchitis can lead to wheezing, fluid buildup, and coughing.
- Emphysema – Often associated with an increase in wheezing and coughing, emphysema causes reduced breathing.
More than 12 million people in America have COPD, and since this is a progressive disease, many people aren’t aware that they have it until they notice the symptoms. Early intervention is important, so if you think you have COPD, you should see your doctor right away for diagnosis and management.
Common in smokers and anyone that has had exposure to secondhand smoke, COPD can also be caused a genetic predisposition to diseases like emphysema, multiple respiratory infections, and exposure to air pollutants.
How Can an Air Purifier Help COPD?
Not a substitute for standard medical treatment, an air purifier can help make the air around your more bearable. Particles like allergens, dander, chemicals, pollen, and dust can make breathing difficult and painful when you have narrow airways. When you have reduced capacity in your lungs, they can become stressed from irritations or chemicals making it more difficult to breathe.
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Filtered air can be very important when managing your COPD symptoms. By removing airborne irritants, all these pollutants can be removed before they irritate your lungs and contribute to your breathing difficulties. Prevention is important when staying healthy, so it can help to put an air purifier in every room of your home to prevent lung and airway damage.
How Air Purifiers Work
The technology used in an air purifier is rather simple and straight forward. Air purifiers utilize internal fans that draw the air within the room into a combination of filters within the air purifier. The filters are designed to remove a variety of airborne particles, such as allergens, dust, and pollen. Once the air passes through the filters, the air purifier then recirculates the purified air back into the room. Air purifiers continue with this process as long as the system is turned on, resulting in cleaner and healthier air that is much easier to breath because it has been purified.
Choosing the Best Air Purifiers for COPD Patients
Typically, you should look for an air purifier that is 99 percent efficient, uses a HEPA filter, and can filter out particles that are as small as .03 microns. It is even better if you can find a machine that will filter particles that are .01 microns or smaller. If you happen to live with a smoker, look for a machine that can filter out both odors and chemicals that are associated with cigarette smoke. Filters that use activated carbon means that they can remove airborne odors and chemicals that cause irritation for those that suffer from COPD.
Types of filters that help to manage COPD
While there are a variety of filters used in air purifiers, it is recommended that individuals with COPD choose one that has a HEPA filter. HEPA filters are effective because of their capability of filtering particles as tiny as .03 microns at 99 percent efficiency. In fact, some HEPA filters can even filter particles as small as .01 microns.
For individuals that are exposed to secondhand smoke, it is recommended that they choose an air purifier that–in addition to having a HEPA filter–can also filter odors and chemicals that accompany smoking. In the case of secondhand smoke, an individual should look for an air purifier that includes activated carbon. This type of filter is designed to remove the chemicals and odors in the air that are known to cause excess irritation in individuals with COPD.
What to look for in an air purifier
- Filter type: Perhaps the most important feature to consider is the filter. As previously discussed, it is highly recommended that individuals choose an air purifier that utilizes a HEPA filter. The incredible filtering power of a HEPA filter can make a significant impact on an individual’s ability to breathe and provide him or her a noticeable improvement in breathing comfort.
Additionally, it is important to consider the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating. A rating between 11 and 13 is generally thought to be a good choice. However, the higher the number, the better the unit.
- Types of particles targeted: In addition to choosing an air purifier that contains a HEPA filter, you should also look for an air purifier that specifically targets particles that are known to cause problem in individuals that suffer from COPD.
- volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Activated carbon: Air purifiers that include activated carbon provide an extra layer of defense for individuals with COPD because activated carbon is extremely effective at filtering chemicals from the air. This is because when the carbon comes in contact with, for instance, VOCs, a reaction occurs that is natural and safe, resulting in the VOCs sticking to the filter instead of returning to the air in the room.
- Noise: Because some air purifiers run more quietly than others, it is important to consider the noise level. For instance, some air purifiers are so quiet that users might need to check if the unit is, in fact, on. While this might be a selling point for some, others might need some sort of noise, such as white noise, to help them sleep soundly.
Best Air Purifiers for COPD – Reviews
With Dual Intake and two filters, the Medify MA-112 is a HEPA Air Purifier that covers up to 2,500 square feet. Perfect for dust, dander, pet hair, odors, smog, and allergies, this air purifier has a three-stage filtrations system on both sides of the unit that is medical grade. With a CADR rating of 950, this is an efficient air cleaner that works in very large spaces that other purifiers can’t handle.
It can easily clean a 2,500 square foot room in just 30 minutes allowing you to run the unit at a lower speed while still being able to clean the air in the room. The Medify also comes with a touch screen panels that allow you to choose from four fan speeds, turn the ionizer function on and off, choose sleep or auto modes, or turn on the child lock for added safety.
This unit is Energy Star, ETL, and CARB certified using a dual air intake for two times the filtration. The H13 True HEPA is considered to be a medical-grade air filtration system for better results. Other features include an eight-hour timer, hidden wheels for easy portability, easy and fast filter changes, and 360-degree air distribution.
Featuring the HyperHEPA filtration technology that can block super fine particles stop ultrafine particles down to 0.003 microns, the IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier can stop up to 99.5% of particles including viruses and bacteria. Using triple-seal technology, this air purifier gets stops air from leaking through and filters media into a filter frame. This ensures that no air escapes through from the machine unfiltered providing medical-grade air filtration that is 100 times more effective than a typical HEPA air purifier.
Using 3D UltraSeal, the filter frame is perfectly sealed to the housing to guarantee that it is airtight. The patented EvenFlow Diffuser prevents annoying drafts and noisy air outlets while delivery 320-degree air in all directions. With this powerful filtration, the IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier can cover a room up to 1,125 square feet.
Costing only a few pennies to run a day, the IQAir delivers up to 300 cfm and only uses 27 watts at its lowest speed and 215-watt max at its highest speed. It also features sophisticated controls with programmable operating options, plus you can monitor the filter using color-coded lights that tell you when to change the filter.
Using HEPASilent Technology, the Blueair Classic 480i provides relief from smoke, odors, asthma, dust, pets, and allergies. The DualProtection Filters allows this air purifier to work in medium to large rooms up to 434 square feet. You can also easily confirm your air quality with the built-in air quality sensor to make sure it is free of pollutants like pollen, dander, dust, and mold.
With the ability to scan the air in real-time and adjust your fan speed to match the current air quality, the Classic 480i gives you unparalleled performance using HEPASilent™ technology that mixes mechanical filtration and electrostatic technologies that capture up to 99.97% of pollutants in the air. With this combination, the Classic 480i can provide clean air with efficiency and super-quiet operation. Featuring DualProtection filters using activated coconut carbon, it can also target gases and particles like odors, cooking smells, and formaldehyde, and the integrated air quality sensor measures the air constantly for VOC levels providing real-time information on the digital control panel.
The easy-to-read LED display also tells you the status of your filter, operating speed, and Wi-Fi connection using touch controls, so you can easily change settings. Constructed of high-quality steel, the Classic 480i also comes with the Blueair Friend app that allows you to track changes in your home’s air quality and control your machine remotely or through devices like Alexa.
Featuring a washable, odor-reducing AOC carbon filter, the Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier is designed to be used in a home and can capture mold, smoke, dander, pollen, and dust along with harmful VOCs. Perfect for medium to large room, this air purifier uses a three-stage air cleaning system that uses an AOC carbon filter, a True HEPA filter, and a WINIX PlasmaWave technology. It also includes smart sensors that can gauge the air and adjust the fan to filter the air as needed.
This is an Energy Start and CARB certified machine that can capture allergens as small as 0.3 microns. With a decibel rating of 27.8 dB, you can use the Winix 5500-2 in your bedroom and get a good night’s sleep while it continues to clean your air. Plus, the PlasmaWave works as a permanent filter safely breaking down pollutants, chemical vapors, allergens, and odors without using harmful ozone.
It also includes several great features including a timer and an Auto Mode that will adjust the fan to filter out the air when needed. And, the Sleep mode is handy for silent operation overnight.
Perfect for large rooms, the Levoit LV-H133 features a True HEPA Filter and works well to get rid of dust, pollen, mold, and allergies. Quiet enough to run in a bedroom, this effective and powerful air purifier will also stylishly fit into any room décor. The handy LED display turns off when it operates and gives you plenty of options to choose from.
With an elegant tower design, the Levoit LV-H133 features an efficient, advanced engine design that can purify up to 538 square feet. It comes with a Filter Change Indicator that will light up to let you know when you should put in new filters. The 360-degree filter design along with cyclone technology provides 40 percent higher efficiency allowing the machine to take in air from every side.
The Levoit LV-H133 can remove up to 99.97% of airborne particles that are as small as 0.3 microns including dust, pollen, mold, odors, and smoke. Using an intelligent sensor, the auto mode can adjust automatically between three fan speeds when responding to real-time air quality readings. It also features a noise level at just 25 dB helping you get a good night’s sleep.
A three-time option allows you a range of flexibility when you decide how long you want the purifier to run allowing you to clean your home’s air and save energy at the same time. This is an ETL, FCC, and CARB certified machine that is super quiet allowing you to create a soothing and restful indoor environment.
The handy LED display turns off when it operates and gives you plenty of options to choose from while the Filter Change Indicator will light up to let you know when you should put in new filters. The 360-degree filter design along with cyclone technology provides 40 percent higher efficiency allowing the machine to take in air from every side. The Levoit LV-H133 can remove up to 99.97% of airborne particles that are as small as 0.3 microns including dust, pollen, mold, odors, and smoke.
Using an intelligent sensor, the auto mode can adjust automatically between three fan speeds when responding to real-time air quality readings. It also features a noise level at just 25 dB helping you get a good night’s sleep.
Other Air Purifiers to Consider
Intuitively designed, the BreatheSmart FIT50 air purifier from Alen will automatically adjust to changes in the room’s air quality that can result from doors opening, pets moving about the room, or the moment an air conditioner or heater turns on. Included with this air purifier is the True HEPA-Silver filter that, in addition to removing 99.97 percent of airborne particles, including ones as small as .03 microns, traps lighter chemicals and smoke odors, such as those emitted from cooking. Additionally, this air purifier is designed to reduce asthma and allergy symptoms and will filter a room as large as 900 square feet.
This unit is ultra-quiet and the True HEPA-Silver filter last between 10 and 12 months. Finally, the auto-restart feature keeps this air purifier going after a power outage.
The H600 air purifier from Airpura purifies rooms up to 2,000 square feet, making it a perfect choice for larger common areas, such as open floor plans that include kitchen and living rooms. Additionally, it comes with 40 square feet of True HEPA filtering power and filters up to 560 cubic feet of air per minute. With the help of a three-stage filtration system, this unit removes particles, chemicals, and odors. It also comes with the option to include a UV lamp that sterilizes airborne pathogens and antigens.
In addition to its quiet operation, this air purifier is designed to remove light odors, allergens, and dust while delivering 360 degrees of air distribution. Airpura backs its air purifiers with a five-year warranty.
The Healthmate Junior air purifier from Austin Air is perfect for spaces up to 750 square feet. It employs a three-stage filtration system to ensure the air is clean and free of such things as smoke from cigarettes, cigars, and wood stoves. Additionally, it filters chemicals, including formaldehyde and radon. The filtration system is comprised of a pre-filter that initially captures large particles. Following this pre-filter is a six-and-a-half-pound carbon-zeolite mix specifically designed to filter chemicals and odors.
The final stage is comprised of a True HEPA filter, which expertly removes 99.97 percent of the remaining particles as minuscule as .03 microns. Finally, this air purifier is perfect for individuals suffering from allergies and asthma.
With a clean delivery rate (CADR) of 328, this air purifier from Whirlpool is one of the most powerful units in its class. It is perfectly suited for rooms up to 508 square feet and includes a True HEPA filter designed to remove a variety of airborne particles, including mold spores, pet dander, and plant pollen. Additionally, it can handle odors caused by smoking and cooking. Finally, this system includes an auto mode that senses the air and adjusts the fan to address changes in the environment.
Air Purifiers and COPD
Many people think that shortness of breath and other difficulties in breathing are an inevitable and even normal part of aging. However, in many cases, this is simply not true. Unfortunately, it is quite common for individuals to ignore signs that they may be experiencing a serious illness.
For instance, individuals experiencing shortness of breath or a chronic cough might ignore these symptoms because they do not realize they might be suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). In fact, it is important to visit your doctor if you are experiencing any difficulty in breathing as this is not a normal part of aging.
COPD is a very serious disease that causes irreversible lung damage, and it should be noted that using an air purifier instead of seeking medical treatment is not an acceptable form of treatment. That said, using an air purifier in conjunction with proper medical treatment can help make the simple act of breathing a lot more tolerable.
To understand why an air purifier can provide relief for a person with COPD, it is important to first understand that healthy lungs are very efficient at filtering out airborne particles that regularly find their way into the respiratory system. Some common airborne particles that the lungs must address daily include pet dander, dust, and allergens. Pollen and chemicals are some other common particles that must be filtered out by the lungs so as to not interfere with breathing
However, because individuals with COPD suffer from narrowing airways, their lungs experience great difficulty with this, and common airborne particles tend to end up getting trapped in the airways, making breathing difficult as well as painful. Because of this, breathing air that does not contain these common airborne particles is a vital component in the successful management of the symptoms associated with COPD.