COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties.

It includes:

  • emphysema – damage to the air sacs in the lungs
  • chronic bronchitis – long-term inflammation of the airways

COPD is a common condition that mainly affects middle-aged or older adults who smoke. Many people do not realise they have it.

The breathing problems tend to get gradually worse over time and can limit your normal activities, although treatment can help keep the condition under control.

Symptoms of COPD

The main symptoms of COPD are:

  • increasing breathlessness, particularly when you’re active
  • a persistent chesty cough with phlegm – some people may dismiss this as just a “smoker’s cough”
  • frequent chest infections
  • persistent wheezing

Without treatment, the symptoms usually get progressively worse. There may also be periods when they get suddenly worse, known as a flare-up or exacerbation.

Find out more about the symptoms of COPD.

When to get medical advice

See a GP if you have persistent symptoms of COPD, particularly if you’re over 35 and smoke or used to smoke.

Do not ignore the symptoms. 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.

Find out more about how COPD is diagnosed.

COPD Annual Reviews

The Arch Medical Practice has an in-depth COPD annual review programme. This annual review is with our Practice Nurses, Alison or Debbie on or around your date of birth. At this annual review the Nurse will:

  • Perform as assessment test of clinical symptoms
  • Review inhaler technique
  • Refer to Pulmonary Rehabilitation https://www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/keep-active/pulmonary-rehabilitation
  • Health Education advice
  • Smoking cessation advice
  • Review and implement a Self-management plan
  • Take your blood pressure
  • Take your height and weight (to check if you are under or overweight)
  • Medication review

A assessment test of clinical systems, otherwise knows as a CAT (COPD Assessment Test) is a questionnaire for people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). It is designed to measure the impact of COPD on a person’s life, and how this changes over time. You can complete a CAT test prior to your annual review if you like by following the below document.

If you have any questions we would always recommend to use the NHS COPD or the British Lung Foundations websites, links provided below.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease-copd/

https://www.blf.org.uk/

The Arch Medical Practice