COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, is a long-lasting lung disease caused by damage to the small airways in the lungs, which make it more difficult for air to get in and out. People with COPD usually have one more of these symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • A cough that lasts more than 3 months
  • A cough with mucus most days
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness

In the United States, the most common cause of COPD is cigarette smoking.
Other causes of COPD include:

  • Second-hand smoke (being exposed to tobacco smoke, even if you do not smoke yourself).
  • Exposure to dusts and chemicals (such as coal dust).
  • Frequent lung infections as a child, especially before 2 years of age.
  • Genetic factors (alphal-antritrypsin deficiency, which can be diagnosed by a blood test).

COPD is the third-leading cause of death worldwide, and the third-leading cause of hospital readmissions in the United States.

Properly managing your COPD can help prevent serious problems from developing after you are discharged from the hospital. Important resources that can help you manage your COPD include support services, educational and informational materials, and connecting with your health care provider for follow-up care and routine check-ups. The Alice Hyde Readmissions Project is focused on providing assistance to help you maintain your health and wellness after you leave the hospital.

Improving Patient Education

Making sure patients understand their diagnosis and how to properly manage chronic conditions like COPD can help improve your health and keep you out of the hospital. Your care team will use a wide variety of techniques, including:

  • One-on-one patient care, to understand your motivations and challenges before discharge.
  • Guides and tools to take home, to give you a roadmap for how to best manage your condition.
  • Educational and informational material regarding your condition.
  • Follow-up care to assess your progress and any challenges or issues you are facing.