Take steps to avoid Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Breathe easy: Sarah Buckley has offered advice on how to avoid Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Photo: supplied
Breathe easy: Sarah Buckley has offered advice on how to avoid Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Photo: supplied

Two information stands and a community walk will help highlight World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease day.

The Mid North Coast Local Health District and the Lung Foundation Australia are jointly spreading the message about COPD – the long-term disease of the lungs which causes shortness of breath.

COPD is an umbrella term for conditions including emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic asthma.

It affects one in seven Australians aged 40 or over and is the second leading cause of avoidable hospital admissions.

While there is currently no cure, early diagnosis and disease management programs can reduce the burden of COPD, improve quality of life, slow disease progression, reduce mortality and keep people well and out of hospital.

MNCLHD is helping to raise awareness about the symptoms, risks and treatment of COPD two activities: 

  • An information stand at Port Macquarie Base Hospital (ground level) throughout the week with an opportunity for eligible community members to complete a screening assessment for COPD between 9am and 10am on World COPD Day, Wednesday, November 15. Smoking cessation support and advice will also be provided.
  • An information stand at Settlement City Shopping Centre on Wednesday between 11am and 4pm, providing opportunities for screening assessment and education.
  • Camden Haven Respiratory Exercise Group will hold a World COPD Day Walk from the Community Health Centre, 66 Norman Street, Laurieton from 9.30am on Wednesday. 

Other good advice is to stay well and lead an active lifestyle. We also encourage you to talk regularly with your health professionals.

Sarah Buckley

Acting Respiratory Clinical Nurse Consultant Sarah Buckley said respiratory diseases is one of the top 10 reasons for presentations to hospitals.

“And the Mid-North Coast has a higher average instance of COPD than the NSW average,” she said.

“Leading causes for COPD include smoking, however there is lots of help out there now to help give up. We would urge you to speak with your GP, who are a great first point of call.

“Other good advice is to stay well and lead an active lifestyle. We also encourage you to talk regularly with your health professionals.”

Ms Buckley urged people to remember that although there is no cure for COPD, it is preventable and treatable.

“By following the four simple steps recommended by The Lung Foundation people can reduce their symptoms and slow down the damage being done to their lungs,” she said.

The four steps are:

  • Stop smoking - this is the single most important thing you can do for yourself.  The sooner stop, the sooner you stop the longer you are likely to live.
  • Seek help from health professionals - talk with your Doctor, Nurse, Pharmacist or Physiotherapist to understand how COPD is affecting you and what to do about it. Develop a COPD Action Plan with your doctor to manage flare-ups quickly.
  • Boost your health - join an exercise and education program like pulmonary rehabilitation or other community based exercise programs such as Lungs in Action.
  • Protect against flare-ups - have an annual flu immunisation and pneumococcal immunisation as required and act quickly when your symptoms worsen.

To find out more about COPD speak to your local doctor or visit www.lungfoundation.com.au or www.lungsinaction.com.au