Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD is a term used by doctors to mostly mean chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD is a common condition affecting over one million people in the UK and in the vast majority of cases is caused by smoking.

Diagnosing COPD

Symptoms of COPD usually begin over the age of 40 and a test called ‘spirometry’ is done to confirm the diagnosis. The test measures how much air you can blow into a machine. A value is calculated from the amount of air that you can blow out in one second divided by the total amount of air that you blow out in one breath. A low value indicates that you have narrowed airways.

COPD cannot be cured, but there are many treatments that can ease the symptoms, including inhalers and tablets


Once your condition is stable you will be seen by the nurses every 6 months. It is important to have reviews on a regular basis to ensure you are receiving the correct treatment so that your COPD is kept under good control. At each visit you will be told the interval until your next appointment. If you are overdue an appointment you will receive a letter reminding you to make an appointment.

At the appointment we will:

  • Measure your height and weight
  • Measure your lung function
  • Review your lifestyle
  • Discuss any problems that you have
  • Review your medication

Useful Websites

Further information on COPD is available on the following websites: