A new handbook to help those living with a severe respiratory condition has been released by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ to mark World COPD Day.
COPD – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – is an umbrella term for the conditions emphysema, chronic bronchitis and long-standing asthma and it affects hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders.
About 15% of adults aged over 45 years live with COPD and it is the fourth leading cause of death in NZ.
The new handbook aims to provide information about COPD – from the various symptoms you may experience, to the different types of treatment and medication used to manage the condition. It also provides tips and advice about how to manage COPD symptoms and improve quality of life.
The handbook is based on the current best practice New Zealand guidelines, which were published in 2021 for use by health professionals. They were aimed at improving diagnosis and laying out clear recommendations for assessment and management of COPD.
Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ Education & Development Manager, Joanna Turner says she hopes the handbook will serve as a helpful guide for those living with COPD, as well as their family and friends.
“Receiving a COPD diagnosis can be scary and it can take a little while for the news to sink in, especially if you have never heard of the condition before,” she said.
“So, this handbook will hopefully help those affected learn more about their condition, be better equipped to manage their symptoms day-to-day, and therefore reduce future flare-ups and further damage to their lungs.”
COPD poses a higher risk for those over the age of 40, who have a history of smoking, or who have worked in environments exposed to dust, gas or fumes.
Foundation Chief Executive, Letitia Harding says, “COPD is not a life sentence, and with the right support, non-drug therapy, and medication, many can live full and active lives.”
World COPD Day takes place today, Wednesday 15 November 2023.
View and download the handbook: https://www.asthmafoundation.org.nz/resources/copd-handbook.
For more info and the latest statistics on COPD in NZ: www.asthmafoundation.org.nz/your-health/living-with-copd.