COPD Awareness Month

For people living with long-term and chronic conditions like COPD, the winter months can bring a new set of challenges.

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disease that encompasses chronic bronchitis and emphysema, making breathing difficult for people who live with it. As the air temperature drops, people with COPD often find their symptoms worsening. Cold, dry air can be harsh on the respiratory system as it can constrict and irritate the airways and increase mucus production. The winter season is also notorious for respiratory infections like the common cold and the flu, which can exacerbate symptoms of COPD.

COPD is characterised by restricted airflow due to inflammation and damage to lung tissue. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, chronic cough and wheezing. The condition is primarily caused by long-term exposure to irritants, such as cigarette smoke, air pollution or workplace dust and chemicals.

There are several proactive steps that people with COPD can take to navigate the winter months more comfortably:

  1. Staying warm.
  2. Staying hydrated.
  3. Avoiding respiratory irritants (such as smoke and strong odours) and ensuring good ventilation in living spaces.
  4. Getting the flu vaccination to reduce the likelihood of respiratory infections.
  5. Regular exercise (as recommended by healthcare professionals)

Long term conditions like COPD need to be monitored carefully over the winter months when symptoms can often worsen. It is crucial that we equip people with long term conditions with the necessary information and support so they can self-manage their symptoms and maintain a good quality of life.

For more information or support with COPD visit Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s page here.

For information about Tailored Talks, our long term condition management platform, visit our website here.