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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - What will happen to me?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

There is no cure for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but there are treatments that can help your symptoms.

COPD gets worse slowly. But everyone is different. Some people's COPD stays the same for years. For other people, the disease gets worse more quickly, especially if they go on smoking.[14]

If you stop smoking, there's a good chance that you can slow down how quickly the disease gets worse. Your GP can help you stop smoking.

See Why stop smoking? for more information. You may also want to read our section on smoking for advice about how to give up smoking.

When COPD becomes severe

If your COPD gets very bad, you will find it hard to breathe and you will need to make a big effort to get air in and out of your lungs. If you can't get enough oxygen into your bloodstream, you will feel tired and you may not be able to walk very far.

You may need to breathe oxygen through a mask or through tubes that go into your nostrils. If you're finding it very hard to breathe during a severe attack, you may need to use a machine called a ventilator to help you breathe.

Some people with COPD die as a result of their disease. It's difficult to predict what will happen to you. But you can live longer with COPD if you stop smoking.[14]


For references related to Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease click here.
Last Updated: March 13, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.
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