CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY DISEASE (COPD) - General information 

What is COPD?

COPD means Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. COPD is an “umbrella” term for two major breathing diseases that cause airways to become “obstructed” or blocked: Obstructive chronic bronchitis and emphysema. These diseases often occur together but they can also occur separately.

What is Obstructive Chronic Bronchitis?

When airways are constantly attacked by pollutants, such as those found in cigarette smoke, they become inflamed and filled with thick, sticky mucous. You cough to clear your airways. Later, the bronchi may become obstructed or with limited airflow: lungs do not fully empty and air is trapped. You may cough more and produce phlegm, you feel fatigued and short of breath when doing activities requiring effort.

Obstructive Chronic Bronchitis diagram

What is Emphysema?

Your bronchial tubes branch into smaller and smaller tubes, which end in millions of tiny air sacs called alveoli. The exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place in the alveoli. When your alveoli are damaged or destroyed, it becomes difficult for the lungs to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide and less oxygen gets into your body. Your lungs do not fully empty and air is trapped. You feel short of breath during physical activities.

How is COPD managed?

COPD cannot be cured, but it can be treated so you can live a fulfilling and satisfactory life. Proper COPD treatment includes these strategies:

What to do if I’m affected by COPD?

If you are touched by COPD you need to be aware of changes in your symptoms and being prepared to manage them. Even more in a period of a pandemic such as COVID-19. For instance, would you know what to do in certain situations and who to call to get help? This is the time to take what you have learned and apply it to your own life, on a day-to-day basis.

In order to be ready, your doctor and healthcare team need to develop an Action Plan with you: This will be your decision-making tool. Here are ways your Action plan will help you:

  • Identify your resources
  • Identify your usual symptoms
  • Identify your regular treatment & what to do when you feel well
  • Learn to recognize & manage an aggravation of your symptoms.
The Living Well with COPD program offers information and support for each of these topics. The best way to learn more about COPD is to work together with your health care team that will be able to provide you with the information and support specifically suited to your needs.

Would you know what to do in every situation? Who to call to get help?

You need to develop an action plan.

Learn more about

The Action Plan from Living Well with COPD

How people with COPD get better?

By improving your lifestyle. The Living Well with COPD program is designed to develop a partnership between patients and healthcare professionals to facilitate the adoption of healthy lifestyle behaviors and the skills needed to better manage COPD on a day-to-day basis.

Objectives of the program

  • Optimize your quality of life
  • Maximize your level of autonomy
  • Keep your health condition stable
  • Prevent & manage early any worsening of the disease
  • Help caregivers support their loved ones in the behavior change process

How is the program designed?

The program is designed by medical experts in collaboration with patients to help you on specific situations. It allows you to choose your own goals & priorities, and to explore the program at your own pace.

The program consists of the following modules:

  • Being Healthy with COPD
  • Preventing Your Symptoms and Taking Your Medications
  • Managing your Breathing and Saving Your Energy
  • Managing Your Stress & Anxiety
  • Integrating a Plan of Action into Your Life
  • Keeping a Healthy and Fulfilling Lifestyle
  • Integrating an Exercise Program Into Your Life
  • Integrating long-term home Oxygen therapy into your life
  • Integrating a healthy diet into your life
  • Living Well Smoke Free

How Do people with COPD get better?

By improving their lifestyle.

Learn more about

The Living Well with COPD Program