Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an umbrella term for a group of conditions affecting the lungs and making breathing difficult.

What is it?

Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are the two main conditions that make up COPD. Both involve damage to your airways which eventually affects your lungs' ability to exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide.

How do I recognise it?

Unfortunately, symptoms of COPD don't usually appear until a lot of lung damage has occurred. When symptoms get a lot worse all of a sudden this is called an exacerbation.


Signs and symptoms of emphysema include:

  • Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness

Chronic bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis occurs mainly in smokers. It's defined as a cough that you have at least three months a year for two consecutive years. People who continue to smoke may go on to develop emphysema, but in smokers who are able to quit, the cough may clear in a few days or weeks.

Signs and symptoms of chronic bronchitis include:

  • Having to clear your throat first thing in the morning, especially if you smoke
  • A chronic cough that produces yellowish sputum
  • Shortness of breath in the later stages
  • Frequent respiratory infections


COPD primarily refers to obstruction in the lungs from two chronic lung conditions. Many people with COPD have both.

In most cases, the lung damage in COPD is caused by long-term cigarette smoking.

How do you treat it?

Like any disease, even if there is no cure, there is almost always something you can do to manage it and take control. There are three main areas involved in the treatment of any disease:

For information on medicines and therapies relevant to COPD, make an appointment at Lynch's Pharmacy, Broadale, Douglas, Cork on 021-4366923.

Learn all about the drugs used to treat the disease and any complementary medicines or therapies proven to help. Equip yourself with the tools to manage the condition and not be managed by it.

How do you live with it?

Certain adjustments may be needed to get on with your life, and often, some simple tips and advice can go a long way to making these changes. 

When you come to a Lynch's Pharmacy Clinic, we provide you all the necessary information available to make your life more manageable and enable you to better live with your condition.



COPD, information for patients