COPD is chronic and progressive, with exacerbations along the way. Exacerbations (flare-ups) usually involve inflammation and infection. Both infection and inflammation cause destruction along airway linings and may lead to progression of the illness.
Patients with chronic illness are able to learn the skills necessary to alter this course. The role of the healthcare team is to help patients hone these skills which must be regularly reinforced. They can actually get better at it over time.
COPD progressing along its natural course