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Management of exacerbations of COPD

Exacerbations, particularly those that result in admission to hospital, are significant events in the natural history of COPD. They are distressing and disruptive for patients, and account for a significant proportion of the total costs of caring for patients with COPD.

Managing stable COPD

COPD is a heterogeneous disease that affects different patients in different ways. Some patients may be more troubled by breathlessness, others may develop ankle swelling and others may be experiencing frequent hospital admissions. The management of an individual patient's disease should be guided by the symptoms and disability that they experience. At different times in the natural history of their disease different features may predominate and their management will change to reflect this. COPD also has effects outside the lung for example on peripheral muscles and may lead to mood or cognitive changes which should also be assessed.

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