What information about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) should patients receive?

Updated: Aug 15, 2019
  • Author: Paul Kleinschmidt, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Answer

The best education comes in two forms. Educate patients to the dangers of smoking and the improvement in quality of life attainable with smoking cessation. Instruct patients with COPD to present early during an exacerbation and to not wait until they are in distress.

This author's observation is that many people with respiratory disease do not know the basic ways to monitor their own disease fluctuations. In addition, they are frequently not taking/using their inhalers as prescribed. Spending the 5 minutes it takes to make sure they have an aero chamber, are using the right dosages, the right medicines, and know when to seek help can go a long way in preventing a respiratory disaster.

Printed material is available from the National Jewish Hospital in Denver, Colorado, as well as the American Lung Association.

Instruct patients about appropriate pulmonary toilet.

For patient education resources, visit the Lung Disease and Respiratory Health Center. Also, see the patient education articles Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Smoking (Cigarette), Asthma, and Emphysema.


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