Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common condition characterised by breathlessness, cough and sputum production. However these are nonspecific, common symptoms which may be misattributed; resulting in a possible underdiagnosis of COPD.
Objective: To outline the current views on COPD diagnosis and management with a focus on the role of the general practitioner.
Discussion: An initial important step is to consider and confirm the diagnosis of COPD. Management of COPD focuses on optimising function, preventing deterioration, developing support networks and self management, and managing exacerbations.