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Welcome to the November edition of our WWL Blog

Joanne Wright

This month’s blog is hosted by Joanne Wright, Lead COPD Specialist Nurse at WWL. In it, Joanne explains all about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
(COPD).

Hello, I’m Joanne Wright, Lead COPD Specialist Nurse here at WWL. I work closely with our COPD patients on a daily basis and have seen the impact that this disease can have on the lives of those diagnosed with it.

COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a complex illness that affects people in differing ways. Broken down it means:

  • Chronic – it’s a long-term condition, so it doesn’t go away.
  • Obstructive – the airways are narrowed, so it’s harder to breathe.
  • Pulmonary – It affects your lungs.
  • Disease – it is a serious medical condition.

COPD isn’t just a single condition but actually describes a group of lung conditions that make breathing difficult. A chronic cough and sputum production are often common symptoms because the airways have been narrowed as a result of tissue damage, or inflammation. The two main lung conditions associated with COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Most COPD patients have varying degrees of both emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

COPD often develops as a result of long-term damage to your lungs from breathing in harmful substances.  In the majority of cases that substance is first hand cigarette smoke but can also be second hand cigarette smoke, air pollution and fumes.

It has been estimated that 1.2 million people are living with diagnosed COPD. This makes COPD the second most common lung disease in the UK, after asthma.

November (COPD awareness month) is the month where we recognise the impact this disease has on those who are diagnosed with it and spread the word on the importance of research and prevention. Throughout the month healthcare providers and charities do their best to raise awareness of this debilitating disease and promote ways of reducing its impact. Some of the best ways that COPD’s impact can be reduced are smoking cessation, pulmonary rehabilitation and prompt exacerbation assessment and treatment.

In addition to the activities taking place throughout November, year round there are local support groups that can provide invaluable support from a network of health professionals and fellow COPD patients. For example, the Breathe Easy Group meets every third Monday of the month at Leigh Miners Twist Lane in Leigh from 1.30pm. Also, the COPD /Asthma  group meets at the Tesco store located on Cross Street in Hindley on the last Wednesday of every month from 3.00-5.00pm.These are excellent groups where you can meet like-minded people who understand the impacts of COPD and can provide support and lend an ear all over a nice cup of tea.

For anyone requiring more information on COPD and how to cope with the disease or for anyone who would like to talk to an expert, the COPD team will be holding an information stall on 16 November from 10.00am to 3.00pm. You will be able to find us on the ground floor of the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary so please stop by and meet the team.


 


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