Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the name for a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease. (NHS direct)
Typical symptoms of COPD include:
- increasing breathlessness when active
- a persistent cough with phlegm
- frequent chest infections
Not everybody with COPD has a problem with getting enough oxygen into their blood and getting rid of enough carbon dioxide. If your type of COPD causes this, over time, your body becomes stressed and unhealthy.
Oxygen therapy can help! In fact, getting oxygen can prevent all those bad effects that happen when blood oxygen levels drop. Oxygen can reduce the strain on your heart. Oxygen can reduce shortness of breath. It will help you to stay more active and exercise longer and harder. It will help you think and remember better. And it will help you sleep better. Oxygen therapy CAN make a big difference in how you feel.
Oxygen therapy is a medical treatment. It must be prescribed by a doctor. For people with COPD, oxygen therapy can be a helpful part of their treatment plan. The prescription your doctor writes will include:
- If you need oxygen for rest, exercise and/or sleep, and how much in liters per minute (lpm) for each activity.
- How many hours a day oxygen should be used.
- What type of oxygen system you should use.
COPD is one of the most common respiratory diseases in the UK. It usually affects people over the age of 35, although most people are not diagnosed until they are in their fifties.
It is thought there are over 3 million people living with the disease in the UK, of which only about 900,000 have been diagnosed. This is because many people who develop symptoms of COPD do not get medical help because they often dismiss their symptoms as a ‘smoker’s cough’.
COPD affects more men than women, although rates in women are increasing.
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