Community Health Plan of Washington Medicare Advantage Plans Community Health Plan of Washington Medicare Advantage Plans

What is COPD?

COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It includes a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make it difficult to breathe, such as Emphysema and Bronchitis. Symptoms include shortness of breath and chronic cough especially with mucus. Emphysema can damage the lungs and make them enlarge over time, causing breathlessness.

As COPD progresses, it can make breathing 10 to 20 times harder than for someone with normal lungs. Doctors use imaging tests, lung function tests, and blood tests to diagnose COPD.

There are four stages of COPD, depending on how severe it is:

Mild: Your airflow is limited, but you don’t always notice it. You cough and have mucus sometimes.

Moderate: Your airflow is noticeably limited. You’re often short of breath after exercise or similar activity. This is the point where most people notice that something is wrong.

Severe: Your airflow and shortness of breath are worse. You can’t do normal exercise anymore. Your symptoms flare up often.

Very severe: Your airflow is very limited. Your flareups are regular and intense, and your quality of life is poor.

How can I manage my COPD?

Managing COPD means keeping your breathing regular and staying healthy. Staying healthy includes selecting nourishing foods and drinks everyday.

What can you do?

Talk with your doctor about how to best manage your symptoms and what causes them.

Some things your care plan should include are:

  • Give up smoking
  • Eat right and exercise
  • Get rest
  • Take your medications correctly
  • Stress management – stress can trigger or make your COPD symptoms worse

Other things you can do to help manage your COPD are:

  • Use oxygen appropriately
  • Retrain your breathing
  • Reduce stress
  • Quit smoking
  • Learn techniques to bring up mucus
  • Make an action plan in case of emergency

Discuss your COPD care plan with your provider

Being diagnosed with COPD can be a very stressful. Creating an action plan with your doctor can be the first step to coping with this diagnosis.

Your plan needs to take into account your schedule, how active you are, your cultural background, your mental health and other medical problems you may have. You need to be involved in creating your COPD care plan. Otherwise it’s unlikely that the plan will fit into your life or that you will understand what you need to do. Find more information and resources to help manage your COPD.

How Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW) can help

As your health plan, CHPW wants you to feel your best every day.

You may want to take advantage of the following resources:

  • Health assessment: A health assessment looks at your whole health through a series of questions about your physical, mental, and emotional health. CHPW can give you a health assessment over the phone, or you can take it online at the member center today.
  • Quit for Life® program: Ready to quit smoking? Get peer-to-peer support and personalized coaching at no cost to you.
  • CHPW Care Management: CHPW’s Care Management team can help you build healthy daily habits that are shown to help people with COPD feel better. Case Managers are available to provide education, support and coordinate care.


Stay on Top of Your Prescriptions

Woman grabbing a prescriptionDid you know that certain prescription medicines are available as a 90-day supply? Medicine that you take on a long-term basis to manage your health is called a “maintenance drug.” A 90-day supply makes it easier to keep taking the medicine you need to feel your best. You may also be eligible to receive your long-term medications through free home delivery.



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