COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

Airway obstruction, chronic

About COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a long-lasting lung disease where the small airways in the lungs are damaged.

The condition is obstructive because it limits the flow of air, making it harder for air to get into and out of your lungs.

Many people used to know the condition as emphysema and bronchitis.

There is no cure for COPD, but medicines and treatments are available to help relieve your symptoms and prevent flare-ups (exacerbations). If you have COPD and you smoke, quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to feel better.

Find out more

For health professionals  

More than 1 in 20 Australians aged 55 and over have COPD, based on self-reported data. In 2013, COPD was the fifth leading cause of death in Australia, and it ranks third in terms of burden of disease.

While the condition is incurable, it is possible to slow progression and prevent exacerbations with accurate diagnosis and appropriate care.

The overall goal of our COPD program is to improve the quality of life for Australians with stable COPD through improved medicines management in primary care.

Our CPD activities

Consolidate your knowledge about COPD, brush-up on current guidelines and practices and earn CPD points through our learning activities.

For your patients

Use the following tools and resources in your consultations with patients:

  • Inhaler device checklist
    Use our handy inhaler device checklist to help you identify each inhaler and check (or teach) your patients inhaler technique for specific types of inhalers
  • Getting ready for spirometry
    Ensure your patients are adequately prepared for spirometry testing using this patient factsheet.

Clinical information


Related information - COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

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