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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

A general guide to caring for those with COPD

What is COPD?

The term Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) refers to a group of conditions that cause breathing difficulties e.g. emphysema, chronic bronchitis. It is a progressive illness with early symptoms often being ignored or misdiagnosed. There is a commonly held misconception that COPD is not a serious illness and is very rare. Sadly, this is not the case; in fact there are currently  an estimated three million people living with a COPD diagnosis in the UK, making is second only to Asthma in terms of its prevalence.

The main triggers to a person developing COPD are smoking or exposure to pollutants in the air.

Symptoms of COPD

The most common symptoms of COPD can include:

  • Coughing. Many people who smoke will brush this off as a "smokers' cough" making this a partuclarly dangerous symptom as often people will not wish to visit a Doctor, either for fear of judgement or of "wasting" the Doctor's time".
  • Breathlessness, especially when engaged in physical activities like climbing stairs or walking the dog.
  • Wheezing. Often mistaken for Asthma, or again, by smokers as "the norm".
  • Frequent or persistent Chest infections and colds, that just don't seem to go away and can lead to Pneumonia.

Caring for those with COPD

Many types of care (Home Care, Palliative, Live in or Residential/Nursing) can be appropriate for sufferers of COPD, depending on what stage the illness is at and of course, the personal circumstances of the sufferer. Due to the nature of the disease, having someone around during the night can be very important, as this is the time when symptoms can seem worse.

Advinia have extremely well trained and experienced carers who will assess a COPD sufferer looking for care and give them honest and frank advice about what type of care will be suitable for them. As always, our top priority is the person needing care and as such we would only ever suggest what is best for that person's wellbeing at that time.

If you would like a care needs assessment or simply ask some questions about COPD care, please do get in touch.