If you've just been diagnosed with COPD, our quick overview will help you find out what you can do to live well and manage your condition.

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What is COPD?

COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It’s a long-term condition. But you can do things to help yourself.

Chronic = it is long term and does not go away

Obstructive = it makes it harder for you to breathe out

Pulmonary = it affects your lungs

Disease = it is a problem to be taken seriously

More about COPD

COPD patient passport

Am I getting the right care?

Complete your COPD passport to check you’re getting the care you’re entitled to.

All you need to do:

1. Choose ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to statements about your care

2. At the end, you’ll get your personalised passport

3. Discuss this with your doctor or nurse

Take the COPD passport

What can I do to help my COPD?

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If you smoke, stop smoking

If you stop smoking, you will slow the progress of your COPD. It’s easier to stop with help.

Quit smoking

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​Eat well and keep a healthy weight

Your diet can affect your COPD. Keep to a good weight for you to help your breathing. 

Eating well

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Keep well in the cold

It’s a good idea to prepare for cold temperatures, to make sure you stay well.

Cold weather information

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Your medications

Your doctor may give you medicines in an inhaler to open your airways and to reduce swelling in them.

COPD medications

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Control your breathing

If you feel breathless, get into a position that’s good for you. You can learn ways to help control your breathing.

Managing breathlessness

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Keep active

It’s good for you to get breathless when you’re active. Keeping active helps your breathing and gets you fitter so you can do more.

Keeping active

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Look after your mental health

You might feel down at times. You can get help with anxiety and depression.

Looking after your mental health

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Find out about PR

Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is a programme of exercise and education for people with COPD. It aims to help you cope with getting out of breath.

How PR can help you

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Managing flare-ups

A flare-up – sometimes called an exacerbation – is when your symptoms become particularly severe.

The signs of a flare-up are:

  • your breathlessness gets worse
  • you cough more
  • you produce more sputum
  • a change in the colour and consistency of your sputum

Agree a plan with your doctor about what you will do in a flare-up. You may have medications to keep at home.

Read our flare-up checklist

Where to get help and support


Speak to our helpline

You can talk to them about anything

Call our helpline


Join our web community

Speak to everyday people with lung conditions

Join our web community

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Join our Facebook community

See what's happening on social media

Follow us on Facebook

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Join a support group

We have support groups across the UK 

Find your nearest group

Do you have COPD? Can you spare 5 minutes to tell us about your care?

We want to hear about your experiences of living with COPD. Your answers will help us make sure everyone with COPD gets the care they're entitled to - and help us fight to improve care for you.