Here are the answers to some common questions about managing COPD:
Q: Is there a test to see if my COPD is well managed?
A: Yes. Helping to manage your COPD includes regularly checking your condition. Talk to your doctor about how often you should schedule appointments to help with managing your COPD. Consider using a symptom tracker that you can bring to your appointment. Be sure you know what to do if you feel your COPD is getting worse – fill out a COPD Action Plan™*.
An important part of managing your COPD is knowing how to use your treatments correctly. Regularly taking a few minutes to review the proper inhalation technique can help you get the most from your treatment.
Q: What is a written COPD Action Plan™*?
A: Your written COPD Action Plan™* is a written plan that helps you determine if you are having COPD flare-ups (also called a COPD exacerbation). It also helps give you guidance on how to take care of yourself when a flare-up happens.
If you don't have a written COPD Action Plan™*, download and print the PDF and ask your doctor to help you fill it in.
Print the form and take it to your doctor who can fill it out with you. Review the form with your doctor so that you understand how to use it.
If you feel your COPD is getting worse, follow your COPD Action Plan™*, and let your doctor know. You may need additional medical therapy in order to treat your flare-up.
Q: I'm using my COPD medications as prescribed. Is there anything else I can do?
A: Yes, there are many things you can do to help manage your COPD:
- Ask your doctor to help you complete a COPD Action Plan™*. To get a copy of the COPD Action Plan™*, download and print the PDF, and ask your doctor to help you fill it in. If you already have a COPD Action Plan™*, make sure you update it with your doctor at least twice a year.
- Track your COPD symptoms and be sure to write down how they are affecting your life. Bring the results to your doctor and discuss whether your treatment needs to be adjusted. Ask your doctor whether you are on an appropriate treatment for your level of severity (e.g., mild, moderate or severe COPD).
- Make sure you know what each of your COPD medications is for and how to properly use it.
- Ask your doctor which vaccines you need.
- Ask your doctor about whether you would benefit from pulmonary rehabilitation.
*© 2013 Canadian Thoracic Society
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