COPD Facts and Myths

Find out whether some common beliefs about COPD are facts or myths.

Fact or myth? COPD is usually diagnosed while it's still mild.

This is a myth. COPD is a chronic disease that takes time to develop. Many people with COPD don't even know they have it. By the time people recognize the symptoms and get help, the disease has often become quite advanced. Most people already have moderate or severe COPD by the time they are diagnosed.

It's important to catch COPD early when it is easier to treat and there is less lung damage. If you have been noticing COPD symptoms such as a persistent cough, coughing up phlegm (pronounced "flem"), or shortness of breath, see your doctor.

Fact or myth? COPD can be cured by moving to a dry climate.

It's a myth that COPD can be cured by moving to a dry climate.

COPD is a chronic condition. That means it's with you every day.

Although a drier climate may reduce some of your triggers for flare-ups, it may also introduce new ones.

There's no cure for COPD. But you can manage your COPD by following the treatment plan and lifestyle changes recommended by your doctor.

Fact or myth? Using my COPD maintenance medication every day will eventually cause it to become less effective and I should not use it regularly.

You should still continue to use your COPD maintenance medications on a regular basis, even if you're feeling better.

COPD is a chronic condition with symptoms that can change and get worse over time. It is important to keep using your medication as directed by your doctor even if you are feeling better.

If you feel your COPD is getting worse, follow your COPD Action Plan™* (if you don't have an action plan, download and print the PDF and ask your doctor to help you fill it in). Your COPD treatment may need to be adjusted.

An important part of managing your COPD is knowing how to use your medication correctly. Regularly taking a few minutes to review the proper inhalation technique with your doctor or pharmacist can help you get the most from your treatment.


*Provided by © 2013 Canadian Thoracic Society

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