What is COPD?

COPD is an umbrella term for chronic obstructive bronchitis and pulmonary emphysema. The term obstructive refers to the fact that the condition limits oxygen uptake in the blood. Pulmonary emphysema is a disease that distends the lungs, which also restricts oxygen uptake. COPD is caused by inhaling harmful substances over an extended period. Smokers are a particularly high risk group.


COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a disease characterised by damage to the lung that impairs the supply of oxygen to the blood. COPD is rarely identified in its early stages and often (and wrongly) thought to be smoker's cough. In the later stages, the symptoms of sputum, coughing and shortness of breath intensify. If COPD has been diagnosed, the disease is generally quite far advanced. In the advanced stages of the disease, patients are dependent on supplemental oxygen and can barely tolerate any physical exertion at all.

COPD is incurable, but the progress of the disease can be halted. Easily the most important measure that can be taken is to ensure that the sufferer is able to breathe better quality air (fewer air pollutants). Shortness of breath can be alleviated by further therapeutic measures.

Together with Lungenliga, Helsana offers interesting information and some helpful services.

Get in-depth information on COPD

Lungenliga's COPD brochure contains comprehensive information on the disease and its treatment and provides useful contact details. You can download it as a PDF file (PDF, 2MB) or order it from us.

Take a COPD risk test

The COPD risk test consists of just a few questions and allows you to ascertain your level of risk with regard to COPD. Based on your test result, you are given advice about what to do.

Give up smoking

Reduce your risk of COPD with a smoking cessation training course and avoid breathing in second-hand smoke. If you have taken out SANA or COMPLETA supllementary insurance, also receive a 75% or 90% discount on the training.


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