Talk to your doctor
Your doctor can offer valuable support as you manage COPD.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a serious lung disease that usually causes breathing to get worse over time. COPD includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or both. COPD also includes episodes called flare-ups (also known as exacerbations).
With COPD, your symptoms and needs may change over time. That's why it's important to build a trusting relationship with your doctor.
Your doctor can help:
- Answer questions about COPD and available medicines
- Evaluate the severity of your COPD and keep an eye on changes in your condition
- Teach you how to manage COPD at home
- Oversee preventive health efforts, such as flu shots and quitting smoking
You can help by:
- Being open with concerns you have. Don't be afraid to tell your doctor if you're worried about your health
- Being honest about health habits. Even if you have bad habits—smoking, eating poorly—tell your doctor, so you can get the best possible treatment
- Not being embarrassed. Ask about anything you don't understand. It's better for you and your doctor if you understand everything completely
- Being clear. Avoid descriptions like "I don't feel right." Be specific: "I'm more short of breath than I was last week"
- Following up. Pick up medications on the way home. Write down new information. Consider sharing information with a loved one
Start a conversation with help from an interactive doctor discussion guide.
Work with your doctor to develop a COPD treatment plan.
- Quitting smoking is the only thing that can stop the progression of COPD, but a complete treatment plan could help you breathe easier
- Consider prescription treatments, lifestyle changes, management techniques, and—in later stages—the possibility of oxygen therapy
- Maintenance treatments like SPIRIVA HandiHaler and others can help you breathe better. Talk to your doctor to see if SPIRIVA HandiHaler is right for you