Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a term that includes the conditions chronic bronchitis and emphysema. With COPD, the airflow to the lungs is restricted (obstructed), and this is usually caused by smoking. Symptoms of COPD include a productive cough, breathlessness, wheeze, chest tightness and frequent chest infections. If you have any of these symptoms, please make an appointment with your GP for review on 01875 610248.
The most important treatment for COPD is to stop smoking that we can help you achieve. If you wish to stop smoking, please contact the surgery or click here for further information. Inhalers are commonly used to ease symptoms in COPD by improving the function of the lungs. There are other treatments available such as steroids, antibiotics, oxygen, and mucus-thinning medicines (mucolytics). These medicines are usually used in more severe cases, or during an exacerbation (flare-up) of the symptoms. About 3 million people in the UK have COPD, and it is more common with increasing age.
If you have COPD, you will be invited for a yearly check-up by our trained Practice Nurse by letter. At this check, the Practice Nurse will:
- Discuss your symptoms and the impact of your symptoms are having on you
- Review your inhaler technique, so please bring your inhalers to your appointment
- Perform breathing tests called Spirometry to access your lung function
- Provide help with stopping smoking if applicable
- Give advice about your inhalers, and make changes to these if appropriate
- Offer you the annual Flu vaccine
- Provide you with a personal self-management plan
- Advise you about signs to monitor for that suggest an infection (e.g. green sputum)
- Refer you for Physiotherapy known as Pulmonary Rehabilitation for exercises if appropriate