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 50’s.
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
- STOP smoking
- 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