Some Facts About COPD

Sunovion is proud to partner with Loni Anderson, the COPD Foundation, and to give COPD patients and caregivers like you some knowledge and tools to help you manage COPD.

COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. The illness is a combination of emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and chronic inflammation of the lungs.

The damage COPD does to the lungs is permanent; however, there are things you can do to manage the disease and feel better. These include changing your lifestyle, tracking your symptoms, and getting medical treatment.

To help you manage your or your loved one’s COPD, we’ve created and several downloadable resources for patients and caregivers. Start using these tools today to take a proactive approach to living with COPD.

Complimentary COPD

Living with COPD or caring for someone who does? We have tools that may help make it easier.


Learn about treatment options
that may address your COPD symptoms.

Loni Anderson’s

As a COPD caregiver, actress Loni Anderson has made battling COPD a personal crusade.

Complimentary COPD Resources If you or someone you love suffers from COPD, these complimentary resources can help you manage symptoms and help your physicians understand how therapy is working.

My Diary

My Diary

Use this printable tool to:

  • Log daily COPD symptom occurrence and progression
  • Track current COPD medications and satisfaction levels
  • Prepare to discuss areas of concern at doctor’s appointments
  • Aid communication and understanding among patients, caregivers, and physicians

COPD Caregiver's Guide

COPD Caregiver's Guide

This guide helps COPD caregivers to:

  • Understand their role in improving outcomes for their loved ones
  • Speak knowledgably with COPD sufferers and health care providers
  • Understand disease progression and help improve patients’ personal wellbeing

COPD Care App

COPD Care App

With this app, you can:

  • Track which COPD symptoms are most bothersome
  • Show the doctor if shortness of breath is staying the same or getting worse
  • Input notes to help the doctor understand treatment effectiveness
  • Create multiple profiles if you help care for more than one person

Finding Treatment A Guide to COPD Therapies

What are my COPD treatment options?

Although COPD is a serious and progressive disease, there are medications that can help you manage its symptoms. Many COPD medications are inhaled, but some can be taken as pills or syrup.

There are 2 primary types of treatment for COPD:

COPD rescue medicines start working within minutes and are taken for sudden symptoms or taken when breathing suddenly becomes difficult. Short-acting bronchodilators can be beta2-agonists (which relax muscles around the airways), anticholinergics (which inhibit nerve impulses), or a combination of both.

COPD maintenance medicines are taken on a regular basis every day, to help manage your COPD. Long-acting bronchodilators can be beta2-agonists and anticholinergics. Other maintenance medicines include inhaled corticosteroids (to reduce swelling and inflammation), or a combination.

Corticosteroids can also be taken orally. Other oral medications that may be used to treat COPD are available, such as theophylline and PDE4 Inhibitors.

COPD medication delivery devices

COPD medications are available in many forms. Inhaled medications are the most often prescribed because they deliver the drug to your airways. The three most common ways to administer inhaled COPD medications are the following:

  1. Metered-dose inhaler (MDI): A small portable device that combines the medication with a propellant to produce a fine mist, which is delivered as a "puff" as you inhale. An MDI consists of a pressurized canister of medication and a mouthpiece. MDIs require "hand-breath" coordination, meaning you must be able to coordinate pressing down on the inhaler and breathing in the medication.
  2. Dry powder inhaler (DPI): These are small, portable devices that contain powdered medication. These inhalers are breath-activated (when you inhale, it changes the medication into a fine powder), so they require less "hand-breath" coordination than MDIs. However, to use this type of inhaler, you need to be able to inhale deeply and forcefully.
  3. Nebulizer: A nebulizer system consists of a nebulizer (a small reservoir) and an air compressor. Pressurized air is used to change the medication to a fine mist, which is inhaled for approximately 5 to 10 minutes. With a nebulizer, you breathe normally through a mouthpiece or mask to take your medicine. There's no need to inhale deeply or hold your breath.

With all the COPD medicines and delivery devices that are available, it's important to speak with your healthcare provider to find out which treatment option may address your symptoms.

Loni’s Story For actress Loni Anderson, COPD is more than a disease. It’s a cause.

Like many who grew up in the 1930s and ’40s, TV and movie actress Loni Anderson’s parents were heavy smokers. Her father, a Navy flyer in World War II, smoked four packs a day. Her mother’s story was similar. As Loni recalled in an interview, “My memory of my mom is a wine glass in one hand and a cigarette in the other. She was a runway fashion model, and she was quite a glamorous woman.”

From Child to Caregiver

But glamour came at a cost. By the time they were of retirement age, both of Loni’s parents had advanced COPD. That’s when Loni began taking an active role in her parents’ care and treatment.

From Caregiver to Advocate

Loni’s experience inspired her to take an active public role in the care of millions of COPD sufferers and their loved ones. Today, she has become a leading voice for COPD issues and education.

According to Loni, “People… don’t realize that that they could be getting help and some relief.” More than that, even among well-trained physicians, not all have the detailed knowledge necessary to treat COPD effectively at all stages of development. “Your family physician probably isn’t an expert in COPD,” Loni also observes. It’s a fact that highlights the importance of knowing what kind of questions patients need to ask doctors—and doctors should ask patients—to unearth the information necessary for successful treatment.