Chronic Obstructive Airways Disease (COPD) is the name used to describe various conditions
where people have difficulty breathing because of long-term (chronic) damage to their
lungs. The airways in the lungs become narrower and make it harder for air to flow
in and out of the lungs. In the past it may have been described as chronic bronchitis
or emphysema. There are several causes including exposure to fumes and pollution,
but the most common cause is smoking.
COPD is characterised by breathlessness, which is progressive. Other common symptoms
are cough, wheeze and sputum production. The best way to reduce this rate of progression
is to stop smoking. The Practice offers support to achieve this as do the NHS through
classes in the local area.
Our COPD Nurse offers a COPD management review annually. This review appointment
will last around 30 minutes, so please remember to tell the receptionist when you
phone to make your appointment that it is for a COPD or respiratory review.
Many COPD treatments are similar to those used for asthma but there are also some
specific to COPD. The nurse will check how effective you feel your treatments are
and she will check your inhaler technique, so please bring along all the inhalers
and spacers you are currently using to the review. You will be assessed for your
level of breathlessness. Your breathing and lung function will be checked and measured
using a spirometer. Your weight will be checked and exercise is also positively encouraged
as it helps to improve your breathing and strengthen muscles, which will make everyday
activities less tiring.
We encourage patients to try and manage their COPD at home without too much medical
intervention. The nurse will discuss your self management and give you a self management
plan to keep at home.