Once diagnosed you will be invited to attend the practice clinic at least once a year and for some people it may be every 6 months. Your general health will be assessed and your daily symptoms and treatments discussed. You will be asked to perform another spirometry. You may be invited to attend the Pulmonary Rehabilitation group sessions to learn more about COPD and how to manage your condition.
COPD exacerbation: home management
If you have severe COPD your doctor may advice you to have emergency medication at home for you to immediately self treat an exacerbation of your COPD, in order to prevent your condition from getting worse.
COPD – Respiratory Nurses
If you would like some help and advice at home from the respiratory nursing team who specialise in the management of long term conditions like COPD, you can be referred by a member of your clinical team.
Useful information & advice
What is COPD?
This is the name for a collection of lung diseases which include chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The symptoms include difficulty in breathing which is usually due to the narrowing of the airways. Other symptoms may be increasing breathlessness, especially when active, a persistent cough with phlegm, and frequent chest infections. COPD is one of the most common respiratory diseases in the UK. It usually affects people over 35 although it is not usually diagnosed until people reach their 50s.
The main cause is smoking. The chance of developing COPD increases the more you smoke and the longer you have been smoking. This is because smoking irritates and inflames the lungs which results in scarring.
Preventing COPD exacerbations
- It is important to keep healthy and be as active as possible
- Learning breathing techniques and exercising your lungs will help. Why not try playing a brass or wind musical instrument or even singing!
- Take your prescribed inhalers regularly using the correct technique (see the inhaler technique above)
- Have the recommended immunisations – You should have the flu vaccination every year and the Pneumonia vaccine once
- Participate in pulmonary rehabilitation programs
- Be prepared for winter
COPD and work
COPD can affect your work but also work can affect your COPD.
For more information on COPD and work see these links: