Productive Conversations Between Primary Care Providers and Patients Pave the Way for Long-Term Lung Health

MIAMI & NEW YORK, (Nov. 30, 2023) - When it comes to diagnosing, managing, and treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), primary care is crucial. The COPD Foundation recommends early detection, open communication with a primary care provider, and adherence to treatment plans to fight this progressive lung disease.

COPD is a health crisis that affects more than an estimated 250 million people and is the third leading cause of death worldwide. It encompasses conditions like chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Risk factors for the disease include smoking tobacco, genetics, air pollution, occupational exposures, and early life factors like frequent lung infections. Despite its prevalence, few know the signs and symptoms of COPD early in their lung health journey. The COPD Foundation outlines the following steps to empower COPD patients and initiate long-term lung health.

  • Recognize the symptoms.
    • Early warning signs of COPD such as shortness of breath and chronic cough are often mistaken for symptoms of flu or allergies. However, if symptoms persist over time, it is best to start a conversation with a primary care provider. The COPD Foundation also provides a free COPD risk screener.
  • Discuss it with a primary care provider.
    • If there is a suspicion of COPD symptoms, the COPD Foundation recommends discussing concerns with a primary care provider early and often. The conversation should include medical history, lifestyle, and other environmental risk factors. An open conversation can lead to early diagnosis and more effective treatment.
  • Follow a treatment plan.
    • Primary care providers can build a tailored treatment plan for patients that may include medication, pulmonary rehab, lifestyle changes, or oxygen therapy. A recommended treatment plan helps patients manage the disease and live well despite the disease burden. Following a treatment plan also helps primary care providers monitor their patients for any change in disease status.

"It's vitally important to have an established connection with a primary care provider to manage COPD," says Dr. Louis Gilbert, a primary care physician at Village Medical - a provider of quality primary care. "Your primary care provider will coordinate care with specialists, such as a pulmonologist, when necessary, and make sure you are getting all of your health screenings and vaccines."

For more information about making the most of your primary care experience, visit or


About the COPD Foundation
The COPD Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help millions of people live longer and healthier lives by advancing research, advocacy, and awareness to stop COPD, bronchiectasis, and NTM lung disease. The Foundation does this through scientific research, education, advocacy, and awareness to prevent disease, slow progression, and find a cure. For more information, visit, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

The COPD Foundation
Jessica Burke
(786) 625-7809