New Zealanders, yet most have never even heard of it. Read about COPD below and tips on how to manage it.
What is COPD?
COPD is an umbrella term for a number of serious respiratory diseases, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and chronic asthma.
How does it affect you?
When we breathe, air travels from our nose and mouth, down through our airways, and into our lungs. In people with COPD, this is obstructed in various ways; with emphysema, the air sacs in the lungs are gradually destroyed so people have difficulty absorbing enough oxygen, while in chronic bronchitis the airways become narrower and have increased mucus production and inflammation.
COPD symptoms are similar to asthma, and some people may have both conditions. In asthma, however, the narrowing of the airways is normally reversible, whereas in COPD it is not. The results are the same; the airways are obstructed and the tissue inside the lungs is damaged, making it harder to breathe. This leads to coughing, increased phlegm production, and breathlessness.
Most cases of COPD are caused by smoking, and it is most commonly diagnosed in people over 40. Unfortunately, COPD is often undiagnosed. It is believed that about 15% (200,000) of New Zealand’s adult population may be affected. A large proportion of COPD deaths are under-reported, but COPD is still the fourth leading cause of death
How to manage COPD
COPD progresses over time and, though it is not curable, can be controlled and further damage prevented. Ways to do this include; becoming smokefree, maintaining healthy body weight, correct use of medicines, keeping a warm and dry home, pulmonary rehabilitation, and practising correct breathing technique.
For more on how to manage your COPD, visit: www.asthmafoundation.org.nz/yo...
COPD is a condition that affects over 200,000 Kiwis but remains woefully undiagnosed. COPD is the fourth most common cause of death in New Zealand, and the third most common cause of death in the Māori population.
Tihei Mauri Ora, Tēnā kotou katoa. My name is Charlotte Pooley and I have COPD. I started smoking cigarettes from a young age, I suppose from peer pressure. I used to enjoy walking around the block (almost running) every day with a cigarette in my mouth.
Most people do not think about how, or how often, they are breathing. However, for many people, breathing – a fundamental of life – isn’t as easy as it seems for a wide range of reasons. There are many examples of why a person’s breathing may be affected. These can include anything from breathing pattern disorders, such as ‘mouth breathing’ and anxiety or stress, to chronic nasal obstruction and respiratory disease.