Living with Breathlessness

Breathlessness in people with COPD or severe emphysema

You may be living with COPD or emphysema. Here we explain what
the condition is and how to know if you are at risk of severe emphysema.

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the second most common lung disease in the UK. The condition is caused by pollutants that get into
the lungs, initially blocking (obstructing) the airways as well as causing chronic inflammation. Smoking is the main cause of COPD.

Emphysema is a form of COPD. It is an incurable condition but symptoms can be managed with the right treatment so you can still enjoy
a good quality of life.

In severe emphysema, parts of the lungs are damaged causing air to become trapped in them. The damaged parts of the lung get bigger, putting pressure on the healthier parts of the lung and diaphragm. This makes it harder to take deep breaths, leading to breathlessness, which can impact your daily life.

Take the Emphysema Self-test

Do you have any of these symptoms?

Take a self-test to get a better idea of whether you are at risk of severe emphysema:

Take the Self-test

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References: Emphysema. MedlinePlus. Published May 17, 2018. Accessed June 25, 2018.2018. Gore et al., How well do we care for patients with end stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)? A comparison of palliative care and quality of life in COPD and lung cancer. Thorax, 2000; 55(12), 1000-1006. Gardiner C, et al., Exploring the care needs of patients with advanced COPD: an overview of the literature. Respiratory Medicine, 2010; 104(2), 159-165. Vermeire, P, The burden of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Respiratory Medicine, 2002; 96, S3-S10.