What is COPD?
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is a long-term (chronic) condition that makes it hard to breathe and causes mucous build-up in the lungs.
Common Symptoms of COPD
- Hard time breathing or shortness of breath (called dyspnea)
- Mucous build-up in the lungs (thick mucous, wet cough)
- Feeling tired
Sometimes, symptoms become worse or happen more often: this is called a flare-up or an exacerbation. A flare-up may last hours or days. Call a doctor for help when your loved one is having a flare-up.
Flare-ups can happen due to:
- Sickness (cold or flu)
- Breathing in very hot or cold air
- Being near smoke, perfume, or pollen
How can I care for a loved one with COPD?
Caring for a loved one with COPD can be challenging. Learning about COPD will make it easier to take care of your loved one.
Your loved one's doctor or primary care provider may make a treatment plan, or plan of care to manage your loved one's symptoms with medication and lifestyle changes. Support your loved one by helping them follow their plan of care.
Practice breathing techniques
Follow the Plan of Care
Healthy Habits to help manage your loved one’s symptoms:
- Stop smoking
- Take medications as ordered by a doctor or primary care provider
- Stay active and exercise each day
- Practice breathing techniques or use an inhaler when it's hard to breathe
- Rest when needed
- Split up tasks to make them easier
- Get the pneumonia shot and the yearly flu shot