Today is World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Day
Shortness of breath, a repetitive cough, increased phlegm and feeling tired are all possible signs of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
COPD, a term used to describe lung conditions including emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic asthma, is a progressive lung condition that obstructs airflow and makes it difficult to breathe.
However, many people with COPD often mistake their symptoms as signs of ageing or lack of fitness. They automatically think to adjust their daily activities to accommodate symptoms rather than seeking help.
Dr Katharine See, Department Head for Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, says COPD is the second leading cause of preventable hospital admissions in Australia.
“One in seven adult patients admitted to Northern Health last year had a confirmed diagnosis of COPD,” she says.
Whilst there are many medicines available to treat COPD symptoms, there are also a number of lifestyle habits such as smoking cessation and individualised exercise programs which can dramatically improve symptoms, and even slow disease progression.
With the right diagnosis, support and care, patients can dramatically improve their quality of life.
Barry Howden, pictured above with Maureen Goodwin, Respiratory Clinical Nurse Consultant, has just successfully completed six weeks of pulmonary rehabilitation at Northern Health.
“It has helped me with breathing, as well as understand more about my lungs,” Barry says.
“I now have a different outlook on life and can do more than I could do previously!” he continues.
“Early diagnosis is critical to improve outcomes and quality of life,” maintains Dr See.