How can I manage
my COPD?

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Therapy and lifestyle changes can help manage your COPD symptoms¹

Regular treatment and a healthy lifestyle, which includes regular exercise, a balanced diet and use of breathing techniques, can help you manage COPD by controling symptoms and slowing the development of further damage to your lungs¹.


Recognizing the triggers for flare-ups and learning how to avoid them is also helpful². For example, mucus-filled air passages can make it more difficult to breathe but you can reduce mucus build-up by using a humidifier and drinking plenty of water. Avoid lung irritants, such as air pollution or chemical fumes by staying indoors on days when the air quality is poor. This can minimize the risk of worsening symptoms and flare-ups. Many flare-ups are linked to infection so reduce your chance of catching a cold or the flu by washing your hands frequently, avoiding large crowds during the winter season and making sure you have your scheduled flu, pneumonia and pertussis vaccines³.


Preparing and following an action plan can help you live as normal a life as possible⁴ by managing COPD. It is also important to stick to the plan even if your breathing feels OK. Seeing your doctor regularly means that they can monitor your lung function and recognize immediately if a change of medication is required³.

Develop a COPD action plan¹

COPD management action plan - Step 1
Quit or avoid smoking
COPD management action plan - Step 2
Regular exercise and eating right, maintain a healthy weight
COPD management action plan - Step 3
Practice breathing methods and relaxation techniques and learn how to cough effectively
COPD management action plan - Step 4
Take your medications as prescribed
COPD management action plan - Step 5
Identify ways of managing the early signs of a flare-up
See your doctor regularly, even when you feel well, but especially if you have any concerns about your condition

Useful Tips on managing COPD

Elderly gentleman using an OptiChamber Diamond spacer while wearing a nasal canula to control flare up of COPD symptoms

Diet and exercise advice

If you have COPD you may feel that you can't properly exercise, but regular, exercise, no matter how little, can strengthen your breathing muscles and improve endurance⁵.


Learn more about managing COPD with a diet and exercise regimen

Headshot of man smoking

How to quit smoking

Talk with your doctor to get the support you need to stop smoking. Quitting smoking has the greatest potential to positively influence your experience of COPD⁶.


Learn more about how to manage COPD by quiting smoking

Lady experiencing  COPD  flare-up holding a handkerchief to her face

Shortness of breath

This is common symptoms of COPD. It can be very uncomfortable and scary but regular treatment and exercise can help you manage your COPD breathlessness and live an active life⁷.


Learn more about managing shortness of breath

Patient stories


Discover how to confidently manage your COPD by maintaining a happy and healthy lifestyle – read how people at every stage of the disease have used different therapies and techniques to manage their COPD.


Take a look at our patient stories

Managing COPD - Therapy options

  • Airway clearance

    Airway clearance

    Coughing is the body’s way of clearing mucus from the lungs. If you can no longer cough you may benefit from using an airway clearance device.

  • Ventilation


    Philips Respironics COPD ventilation solutions can help reduce the burden and breathe for you. Learn more about COPD AVAPS therapy & COPD ventilation therapy.

  • Compressor nebulizer systems

    Compressor nebulizer systems

    Nebulizers deliver your medication where it's needed most - your lungs. Many medications begin to work much quicker as a result.

  • Muscle training

    Muscle training

    Using a muscle trainer can improve your breath strength, exercise tolerance and quality of life.

  • Spacers


    A spacer is a chamber that attaches to your inhaler and supports medication delivery into your lungs.

  • Monitoring


    Take greater control of your life and therapy with measurements that can provide you useful information about your condition.

  • Oxygen


    Oxygen therapy can help reduce shortness of breath, make you feel better and allow you to remain active longer.


1. Healthline. COPD: Treatment Options. 
Accessed on 3 August 2015.

2. COPD Foundation. Staying Healthy and Avoiding Exacerbations.
Accessed on 3 August 2015.

3. Minimizing COPD Flareups. 
Accessed on 3rd August 2015.

4. American Lung Association. Instructions for COPD MANAGEMENT PLAN.
Accessed on 15 May 2015.

5. COPD Foundation. Slim Skinny Reference Guide®. Exercise for Someone with COPD

6. Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD). Pocket Guide 2015

7. Web MD. Short of Breath? Tips for COPD Breathlessness.
Accessed on 3 August 2015.


For informational purposes only, not to replace physician's directions.