Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties.
COPD is a common condition that mainly affects middle-aged or older adults who smoke. Many people don't realise they have it.
The breathing problems tend to get gradually worse over time and can limit your normal activities, although treatment can help keepthe condition under control.
The main symptoms of COPD are:
Without treatment, the symptoms usually get slowly worse.There may also be periods whenthey get suddenly worse, known as a flare-up or exacerbation.
If they're caused by COPD, it's best to start treatment as soon as possible, before your lungs become significantly damaged.
Your GP will ask about your symptoms and whether you smoke or have smoked in the past. They can organise a breathing test to help diagnose COPD and rule out other lung conditions, such as asthma.
The main cause is smoking, although the condition can sometimes affect people who have never smoked.
The likelihood of developing COPD increases the more you smoke and the longer you've smoked.
Some cases of COPD are caused by long-term exposure to harmful fumes or dust, or occur as a result of a rare genetic problem that means the lungs are more vulnerable to damage.
The condition can't be cured or reversed, but for many people treatment can help keep it under control so it doesn't severely limit their daily activities.
But in some peopleCOPD may continue to get worse despite treatment, eventually having a significant impact on theirquality of life and leading to life-threatening problems.
COPD is largely a preventable condition. You can significantly reduce your chances of developing it if you avoid smoking.
If you already smoke, stopping can help prevent further damage to your lungs before it starts to cause troublesome symptoms.
If you think you need help to stop smoking, you can contact Smokefree groups for free advice and support. You may also want to talk to your GP about the stop smoking medications available.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties. COPD is a common condition that mainly affects middle-aged or older adults who smoke. Many people don't realise they have it.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) makes breathing increasingly more difficult. But it develops slowly over many years and you may not be aware you have it at first. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, a persistent cough and wheezing, etc.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) occurs when the lungs and airways become damaged and inflamed. It's usually associated with long-term exposure to harmful substances such as cigarette smoke, or fumes at work, etc.
See your GP if you have persistent symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). They may also carry out or arrange for you to have a breathing test called spirometry and some of the other tests like chest x-ray, etc.
If your COPD is affecting your breathing, you'll usually be given an inhaler. This is a device that delivers medication directly into your lungs as you breathe in. If you experience symptoms regularly throughout the day, a long-acting bronchodilator inhaler will be recommended instead.
It's important to take good care of yourself if you have COPD. Some of the main things you'll be advised to do are; take your medication, stop smoking, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, etc.
Read the story of Lynn Ashton, who was diagnosed with COPD after she noticed her breathing was getting worse.
Read the story of Eddie Brownlow, who has diagnosed with COPD after smoking 15 cigarettes a day for most of his life.