Public health and healthcare professionals are encouraged to use this information and take actionable steps to prevent COPD, reduce health inequities, and ensure clinical guidelines are used to diagnose, manage, and treat COPD.
The USPSTF does not recommend screening asymptomatic people with spirometry for COPD, but there are validated COPD screening tools for people experiencing COPD symptoms and who have risk factors. Results of the screening tools can identify people who should be evaluated for COPD.
Spirometry is a lung function test that determines airflow obstruction, and the results confirm a COPD diagnosis. Spirometry use, especially in primary care settings, is underused which may result in a misdiagnosis or underdiagnoses of COPD.
Cigarette smoking is the leading, preventable risk factor for COPD. For people living with COPD who currently smoke, quitting smoking is one of the most effective ways to manage COPD and may lead to improvement of symptoms, lung function, and reduce morbidity. Tobacco prevention and cessation programs can be offered through individual counseling, community-based programs, or in a clinical setting.
People with COPD should receive vaccinations that prevent respiratory infections like flu, pneumonia, RSV and COVID-19. Respiratory infections are one of the leading causes of COPD exacerbations and may lead to worsening of symptoms, reduced lung function, hospitalization, worsening of quality of life and death.
Pulmonary rehabilitation can improve breathing capacity, exercise ability, and may reduce healthcare costs for hospital admissions however referrals remain low. COPD education, self-management interventions and treatment should be tailored to each person. Recommended interventions should also consider health literacy and social determinants of health.
Page last updated: November 7, 2023