Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties. These include emphysema, a condition in which there is damage to the air sacs in the lungs, chronic bronchitis where a lot of phlegm production occurs almost daily. It is a common condition that mainly affects middle-aged or older adults who smoke or have smoked a significant amount in the past
COPD causes narrowing of the airways, and people with COPD may find breathing more difficult. They may also have symptoms such as breathlessness when exercising, a persistent chesty cough with phlegm, wheezing and frequent chest infections
COPD is a condition that can worsen over time. Although there is no cure for COPD, there are medicines that can help slow the progression of the condition and help keep symptoms under control. People with COPD should have a review with their COPD nurse at least once a year. This is an opportunity to discuss your symptoms, any concerns you may have with your condition and discuss how to use your medication and any changes that may be needed. The COPD nurse will assess the severity of your symptoms, review any medication and discuss inhaler technique. Your COPD nurse will also discuss if a referral for pulmonary rehabilitation is needed. Pulmonary rehabilitation refers to a specialised programme of group exercise and education sessions to help people with COPD improve daily activities without getting breathless. There are also exercises that you can do at home. Exercise is proven to help slow down the progression of COPD.
Your COPD nurse will also discuss a self-management plan giving information about your medication and what to do if your condition gets worse or if you develop an infection. If you are having a face to face review, the COPD nurse may also do a small breathing test to see if there has been any progression of your COPD.
To complete the assessment please visit:
Please contact the surgery to book an appointment with the nurse for smoking cessation advice.
It is important that people experiencing any immediate concerns with their COPD or lung condition should get in contact with their GP or NHS 111, or 999 in an emergency
For general advice about coronavirus for patients with chronic lung conditions, please follow: https://www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/coronavirus
The British Lung Foundation offer an independent general advice helpline on 03000 030555 available Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.
The following questionnaire can help you and your healthcare professional measure how much impact your COPD is having on your daily life. It is important that people experiencing any immediate concerns with their COPD or lung condition should get in contact with their GP or NHS 111, or 999 in an emergency.
The NHS website has also produced myCOPD app available from the Digital Apps Library – a tool to help you better manage your COPD.