What is COPD?

  • Chronic (long-term) Obstructive (blocked) Pulmonary Disease is also known as emphysema or chronic bronchitis. There is damage to the lungs, usually caused by smoking and/or TB.
  • COPD is not the same as asthma, but they sometimes occur together.
  • People with COPD cough up sputum and become breathless easily.
  • The goal of COPD treatment is to have as few COPD symptoms as possible and to prevent attacks.

What can help you reach your goal for COPD?

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Stop smoking

  • Stopping smoking is the mainstay of controlling COPD.
  • If you need help to quit, ask your healthcare worker.
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Get active
Aim for at least 30 minutes of brisk exercise 5 days a week. Exercise within your limits.

  • Try some exercises in your home or yard.
  • Do the sweeping, work in the garden
    or dance to your favourite music.
  • Take part in an exercise programme on TV or online.
  • Walk instead of using transport. Take the stairs instead of the lift.

Keep a check on your condition

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  • Tell your healthcare worker about your symptoms at every visit.
  • Your healthcare worker might check your peak expiratory flow to see how forcefully you can breathe out.

Take your medication as instructed​

  • COPD is difficult to treat and cannot be cured, but medication should help relieve symptoms.
  • Be sure you know what your medication is for and how much and how often to take it.
  • Inhalers work only if used correctly. A spacer helps to deliver medication to the lungs and to prevent a sore mouth.
  • Make sure you can use an inhaler (and spacer if needed) properly:


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Seal your lips.


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Press and breathe in.


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Take 4 breaths keeping spacer in mouth.

  • Check the medication list to understand how your medication works and what side effects it might cause.
  • If you are unsure how to use your medication, ask your healthcare worker.

Know when to seek healthcare

If you are breathing too fast to speak properly, visit the healthcare facility urgently today.

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Make contact with your healthcare facility if:

  • You run out of medication.
  • You don’t understand how to take your medication.
  • You have an appointment for a check-up.
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