What is COPD?
Often symptoms of COPD can be mistaken as a normal part of ageing. Some of the common symptoms of COPD are:
Shortness of breath
Increased phlegm or mucus
Common causes of COPD
Smoking is the number one cause of COPD in the United States.
The genetic condition called Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency can also increase your risk of developing COPD. For further information, click here.
Hazardous air pollution
COPD can also be caused by long term exposure to occupational or environmental pollutants.
Flare ups or exacerbations happen when your symptoms increasingly worsen over a short period of time. This can sometimes be caused by infections or air pollution and can lead to:
Poorer lung function
Increased shortness of breath
Decline in quality of life
Flare ups can be dangerous and potentially require hospitalisation. It’s important to ask your doctor about creating a COPD Action Plan, as this will help you understand what to do when you experience an exacerbation.
For more information on COPD Action Plans click below.
How to manage COPD
If you are a smoker, quitting smoking is the most important treatment to improve your health and symptoms.
For more information on how to quit smoking, click below.
Pulmonary rehabilitation programs can improve shortness of breath, and quality of life in addition to reducing anxiety and frequency of exacerbations.
To find pulmonary rehabilitation programs in your area, click below.
The majority of medication used to treat COPD are taken using an inhaler (puffer). Over 50% of patients do not use inhalers correctly.
For videos on how to use your inhalers correctly, click below.
COPD can increase your risk of catching the flu and pneumonia. It’s important to speak with your doctor to ensure your flu and pneumonia vaccinations are up to date each year.
To find out where you can get vaccinated in your area, click below.
COPD can cause low blood oxygen levels and may require you to receive extra oxygen from a tank, liquid systems or a concentrator.
For further information on oxygen therapy, click below.
The physical side of COPD can sometimes affect your mood and emotional heath. It’s important to speak to your doctor if you begin to feel COPD is affecting emotional aspects of your life.
For more information on available COPD support services, click below.