Living with COPD

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the name for a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties.

It includes:

  • Emphysema – damage to the air sacs in the lungs
  • Chronic bronchitis – long-term inflammation of the airways

COPD is a common condition that mainly affects middle-aged or older adults who smoke.


How can I look after my lungs?

Make sure you have your vaccinations

There are two types of vaccinations that people living with COPD are encouraged to have each year.

These are:

For more information on both vaccinations, please ask your GP or practice nurse.

Stop smoking

If you smoke, the most important thing you can do to slow the progression of your COPD, is to stop smoking.

We know giving up can be a struggle, but there is now a wide range of support available to help you stop.

Speak to your local pharmacist, GP or practice nurse or visit the Smokefree website for a range of online support tools including a FREE smokefree quit kit.

Take your regular medications

It’s really important to take any prescribed medications, including inhalers, as directed by your GP, practice nurse or respiratory team as this will help prevent any bad flare-ups.


Be active           

We know exercise isn’t everyone’s favourite thing to do, but being active is one of the best things you can do if you have COPD. There are just so many benefits to doing so! By being more active you can not only improve your overall lung function. It can also help you to feel more energetic and be more confident in yourself. Exercise can also help to control your weight along with a healthy balanced diet.

So whether you choose to dance around the kitchen, jump in puddles with the kids, walk the dog or run for the bus, it all counts! For more inspiration visit the That Counts website or MCRactive to find out what on at your leisure centres and community venues.

The Manchester Integrated Lung Service

The Manchester Integrated Lung Service (MILS) is a team of specialist respiratory nurses and physiotherapists who provide care and advice for patients and their families.

They have local knowledge of services and work across all Manchester neighbourhoods. Their aim is to help people living with lung conditions such as COPD manage their disease and to remain well at home.

To access support from MILS, please speak to your GP who will be able to discuss this with you.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation

The Manchester Integrated Lungs Service (MILS) runs a tailored programme known as pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) designed to help people with lung disease better manage their condition and breathlessness. PR is the most effective treatment for lung conditions and has shown to significantly reduce shortness of breath, improve the ability to carry out activities and improve quality of life.

What to expect?

If you decided to attend a pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) programme you won’t be alone and will be in a group of around 8 to 16 people. A programme usually lasts six to eight weeks to complete and each session is up to two hours.

PR programmes are held in a number of venues across the city and you can choose from:

Forum Leisure

Hough End Leisure Centre

Arcadia Library and Leisure Centre

North City Family Fitness

East Manchester Leisure Centre

North Manchester General Hospital

Completion of the full course is advisable and a really good way to learn how to exercise, build confidence and a great way to meet new people.

Who will support me?

All PR programmes are supported by trained health care professionals such as physiotherapists, nurses and occupational therapists. They’ll be there on hand each session to guide and support you. They’ll show you how to use the gym equipment and recommend any further activities or classes you could do to improve your overall strength.

How to access PR?

If you would like to attend a pulmonary rehabilitation programme, please speak to your GP, practice nurse or respiratory team who will be happy to discuss this with you.

MyCOPD Web Tool

MyCOPD is available to help you better manage your condition. Use it to perfect your inhaler technique, improve your breathing, reduce exacerbations, and track your medication and more. There is also a really useful Pulmonary Rehabilitation video course that you can do from the comfort of your own home. MyCOPD is accessible from any device, such as a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Several practices across Manchester have already signed up to trial MyCOPD with their patients. If this is something you might be interested in, speak to GP to find out more.