Campaigns, policy & projects > COPD Awareness

COPD Awareness

What is COPD?

Raising awareness of COPD

Promoting self-management of COPD

What is COPD?

To help people understand more about COPD, CHSS has commissioned a Health Sketch video –­ a short animated film that gives an overview of COPD, its causes, diagnosis and treatment. This can be a useful way to explain the condition to your patients, family members or anyone who wants to know more about COPD.

COPD Card Final_Page_1

Raising Awareness of COPD

There are over 125,000 people in Scotland with a diagnosis of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). However, there are many more who don’t realise that they  have COPD. It is estimated that two thirds of people who have COPD are undiagnosed  (for every person who has a confirmed diagnosis of COPD, there are two more people who are living with the symptoms of COPD but it remains undiagnosed).

This means that many people who have COPD are not getting the correct treatment or support.

Getting an early diagnosis is really important for people with COPD. Appropriate interventions can improve their quality of life and reduce the burden on health and social care services.

People often relate the symptoms of COPD to smoking or ageing and tend not to report their symptoms to their doctor. This results in people with COPD being diagnosed later, when their symptoms are worse and benefits of treatment are reduced.

It’s not just older people who get COPD. Although most people are in their 50’s when they are diagnosed, COPD should be considered in people over 35 if they have other risk factors. The questions on the CHSS COPD Awareness Card can help identify who is most at risk.

This card can be used to promote awareness in people who are at risk of having COPD, such as smokers or those who have recently given up smoking.

The information and questions on this card are also available as a short power point presentation or a pdf document that is entitled COPD – Could this be you? These are FREE to download and use.  They are ideal for running on TV screens in places where you would like to raise awareness of COPD, for example in health care waiting areas.  See the bottom of the page for details about how to download these.

Promoting self-management of COPD

COPD is a long-term condition and does not have a cure. It is very important that people who have COPD learn how best to look after themselves. To help with this CHSS has developed Traffic Lights for COPD which helps people be aware of when their symptoms are worsening and what to do about it. People who don’t have a self management plan, should speak to their nurse or other health care professional about how this could help them.

My Lungs My Life is a self-management website for people with COPD.  This is an interactive website with lots of easy to understand information about the diagnosis, treatment and self-management of COPD. It contains helpful animations and videos including how your lungs work, how to use inhaler devices and how to clear your chest. Some of the information is available in a range of languages.

In addition to the comprehensive CHSS booklet Living with COPD, there is also a CHSS factsheet 10 Common Questions about COPD which gives a simple overview of the condition for people with COPD and their carers and families.

These CHSS resources are free to download (see below), or can be ordered online or by e-mailing

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