What is COPD?
- A disease that causes airways to become inflamed and obstructed.
- It is the leading cause of disability and death in Canada.
- COPD is a combination of chronic bronchitis and emphysema (loss of lung tissue).
- The disease has a slow, progressive course and is not reversible.
- If you smoke, quitting is the only way to stop COPD from getting worse.
COPD is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. It is caused by damage to the lungs over many years, usually from smoking.
Many COPD symptoms occur years before the flow of air into and out of the lungs declines but are not recognized.
Do I have COPD?
Not everyone who have the symptoms below, has COPD and not everyone who has COPD, have these symptoms, which may include:
- an ongoing cough or a cough that produces large amounts of mucus (often called “smoker’s cough”)
- shortness of breath, especially with physical activity
- wheezing (a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe)
- chest tightness
What triggers COPD?
Knowing what triggers your COPD will help you avoid them in order to keep your symptoms under control. Some common triggers include:
- air pollution, smog
- cold, dry air
- second-hand smoke
- strong fumes, scented products, perfume
- hot/humid air
- forest fires
Managing my COPD
To help manage my COPD, I can:
- stop smoking.
- use medications regularly and properly.
- exercise regularly.
- prevent and treat infections early.
- get vaccinated for influenza and pneumonia.
- eat a healthy diet.
- follow a COPD Action Plan – (remember to print a copy to bring with you to your next health care provider appointment)
- use breathing exercises specially designed to help in the management of COPD.
How can we help?
Our team can:
- accept referrals from health care providers.
- provide COPD education led by one of our certified respiratory educators.
- teach you about COPD and how to manage it.
- teach you how to use your medication properly to relieve symptoms.
- monitor your progress including assessing your symptoms and response to medication.
- help develop a personalized COPD Action Plan to prevent and minimize complications.
- help increase your confidence with managing your COPD.
- tobacco cessation support and resources.
- provide consistent follow up.