What is COPD?

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Julia Bott is a Consultant Physiotherapist working in Surrey. We went to visit one of her Pulmonary Rehab classes and were treated first of all to a simple explanation of what COPD is and what’s going on inside the lungs. Whenever I watch it, I can’t help but sit up straight, breathe deeply and be grateful that I can fill my lungs easily.

The members of the class, while all having some breathing difficulties, were eager to impress on us the recovery that they’ve achieved through simple exercises complementary to their clinical treatments. There’ll be more of them here soon, but the trouble was not getting them to talk on camera, but getting them to stop talking once they’d started!

COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which, as Julia explains covers a group of diseases such as chronic asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It is most frequently associated with people who have smoked, though it appears that there are also genetic factors and at least one member of the class said his illness was asbestos-related.

NHSDirect has an introductory article that goes into more detail.

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