What is COPD
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a condition that makes breathing difficult. It covers more than 1 lung condition, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. About 1.2 million people in the UK have a diagnosis of COPD but many more have it without knowing. Most people find out they have COPD in their fifties or older, and it’s much more common in people who smoke. Breathing problems tend to get gradually worse over time, but there are many different medicines and therapies that can help people keep these under control for longer.
If you want to learn more about COPD, click here.
If you want to learn more about how lungs work, click here.
What causes COPD
COPD occurs when the lungs and airways become damaged and inflamed. It is usually associated with long-term exposure to harmful substances such as cigarette smoke. Smoking is the main cause of COPD and is thought to be responsibile for around 9 in every 10 cases. Fumes and dust at work, air pollution and genetics can also cause COPD. Read more here.
Do I have COPD?
If you have not been previously diagnosed with COPD but you have symptoms that are potential indicators for COPD you should contact us and request an appointment with a Specialist Nurse who can carry out a review to assess whether you have COPD. Potential indicators include (but not limited to) increasing breathlessness, a persistent chesty cough, frequent chest infections or persistent wheezing. Having these symptoms does *not* mean you have COPD. They indicate that there may be an underlying cause which could be COPD and therefore requires investigation. Investigations can include spirometry (done at the Practice), a chest X-ray or blood tests. Your Specialist Nurse will discuss with you the best option for investigating.
What treatment is available ?
Unfortunately, you cannot be cured of COPD. But treatment is available that can help slow the progression of the condition and control the symptoms. These include: inhalers and medication, pulmonary rehabilitation, and stopping smoking. You can read more about this here.
I want to learn more. Are there any online videos I can watch?
Yes there is. The NHS has put together a number of videos. You can search for these on Youtube. A selection, however, are as follow: