A checklist to help you understand Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and organise medical care
If you are helping someone with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), then this checklist will help you organise their medical care.
During the COVID 19 pandemic you should recognise that people with COPD are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID 19 and therefore you should minimise face to face contact as much as possible and when this is not appropriate, keep a safe distance and wear masks.
COPD is a long term respiratory condition characterised by airflow obstruction. It is usually progressive although there might be no change for several months. It is predominantly caused by smoking although other factors such as occupational exposure to harmful dust and chemicals can also play a part.
When you are helping someone with COPD, it's helpful to know that their usual symptoms include breathlessness, long‑lasting cough, coughing up phlegm, frequent winter 'bronchitis' and wheezing.
People living with COPD might also suffer from exacerbations - periods during which symptoms worsen. The typical features of an exacerbation are worsening breathlessness, cough, increased sputum production and change in colour of sputum.
The checklist is not a substitute for medical advice - always seek professional help. Remember healthcare professionals will not share information about a patient unless they have been given permission to do so.