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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) affects the lungs. The term COPD actually describes a number of conditions including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
If someone has COPD it means that their lungs have been damaged which makes breathing difficult. This damage to the lungs means that the airways are narrower so it is more difficult for air to get in and out.The condition is long-term and won’t get any better.
Types of COPD
There are two main types of COPD.
Chronic Bronchitis – an inflammation of the tubes (bronchi) that carry air through the lungs. Extra mucus is produced which makes people cough. This is a long-term condition.
Emphysema – the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs lose their stretchiness, causing the airways to lose their support and become narrower. The lungs struggle to get oxygen in to the rest of the body which can result in breathlessness.
Symptoms of COPD
The symptoms of COPD can vary depending on how long people have had the disease, how it has been managed and how badly it affects them.
Symptoms can include:
Long-term chesty cough
Anxiety or sometimes depression
Help with COPD
COPD is a serious and long-term illness but with the right support the symptoms can be managed to offer a better quality of life. If you or someone you know is in the latter stages of COPD, you may be interested in:
Complementary therapies such as Acupuncture, massage, Aromatherapy and Reiki. These therapies can help with relaxation, wellbeing, coping with anxiety and managing difficult symptoms
Doctor and nurse-led clinics for outpatients
Visits by hospice nurses or hospice care assistants in your own home
Physiotherapy – to help with managing the breathlessness, mobility, fitness and maximising independent living
Occupational therapy – to help with household adjustments to make things easier or with advice and exercises to make daily living more comfortable
Counselling and emotional support – to help with emotional guidance or spiritual support We also have a range of groups and activities where you can meet people in a similar situation or talk to someone in a friendly and informal environment.
If you are not yet known to the Hospice, but think you may benefit from some of the services we have to offer, please get in touch with our First Contact team. For further information about COPD and how it affects people, please refer to the British Lung Foundation website.