Clinical update

COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) covers a number of lung conditions, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Essential facts

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) covers a number of lung conditions, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. People with COPD have lung damage that is not fully reversible. These conditions kill about 30,000 people a year in the UK. There are believed to be three million people living with COPD in the UK; however, more than two million people remain undiagnosed, with many dismissing their symptoms as a smoker’s cough.

The British Lung Foundation (BLF) has published a new COPD self-management pack for nurses to share with their patients. The packs are intended to help patients take better control of their condition, as well as avoid flare-ups and hospital admissions. Currently, COPD is the second leading cause of emergency admissions in the UK, with about 94,000 admissions a year.

The symptoms of COPD include wheezing, particularly when breathing out, breathlessness, tight chest, cough,

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