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World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Day (COPD) 2008

News date: 19th November 2008

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust is hosting, in conjunction with Breathe Easy and the Smoking Cessation team information stands in the clock tower entrance and in the A&E Department on Wednesday 19th November 2008, which is World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) day to inform patients in Wigan about the disease.

Annette Pilling, Specialist COPD Nurse says: “Compared with other Regions in England, Wigan and Leigh has a higher than average number of patients suffering from COPD.  Many patients are not aware that they have this condition and assume that their symptoms are part of the aging process or due to the fact that they have smoked.  The aim of the day is to encourage people in Wigan and Leigh to get help sooner rather than later and prevent the illness form getting any worse”.

What is COPD? COPD is a common lung disease that obstructs the airways, making breathing difficult.  COPD is usually caused by smoking or exposure to fumes or very dusty places and it can be prevented.  When COPD develops, it can be treated, although it cannot be cured.  The earlier it is detected, the better the results of treatment.

Adults may have COPD if they have trouble breathing, or a cough that will not go away.  If you have these symptoms, you should ask your doctor about COPD.  Doctors can help to improve your symptoms and slow damage to your lungs.  Your doctor can help you do something about COPD.

Many people have COPD and don’t know it.  If you answer yes to three or more of the following questions, ask your doctor if you might have COPD and should have a simple breathing test.  If COPD is found early there are steps you can take to prevent further lung damage and make you feel better!  Do you cough several times most days?  Do you bring up phlegm or mucus most days?  Do you get out of breath more easily than others your age?  Are you older than 40?  Are you a current smoker or an ex-smoker”?

Dr Andrew Wardman, Consultant in Respiratory Medicine says: “COPD is the modern term for conditions previously called chronic bronchitis and emphysema when there is narrowing of the airways.  Nowadays in particular when people are able to stop smoking significant improvement in their condition can be made”.

World COPD Day aims to encourage adults, especially smokers, or those exposed to excessive amounts of smoke at work or home, to see their physician if they have symptoms of COPD.

Patients can bring along their inhalers if they have them so that they can be better informed about inhaler techniques.  There will be specialist nurses available from Wigan Infirmary’s COPD Unit to give advice.  Staff will also be available to discuss smoking cessation and symptom control in addition to staff from the Support group “Breathe Easy” The club working for breathless people.  Anyone who has any queries, should visit on the day, and any patients, visitors or staff who would like help in stopping smoking should contact the Smoking Cessation team at Tudor House on 01942 732470.