Press Release – Asthma Foundation
With World COPD Day approaching on 16 November, the Asthma Foundation is urging smokers and ex smokers who have breathing difficulties to talk to their GP or contact their nearest Asthma Society.8 November 2011
The Asthma Foundation urges smokers to visit GP
With World COPD Day approaching on 16 November, the Asthma Foundation is urging smokers and ex smokers who have breathing difficulties to talk to their GP or contact their nearest Asthma Society.
A simple breathing test called spirometry can show whether you have developed COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).
COPD is a chronic lung disease that is usually caused by smoking. It often goes undiagnosed in the early stages. Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, and phlegm. People often ignore these symptoms until they are severe. The Foundation is urging people with such symptoms to get tested for the disease because early detection and management can slow the progression of COPD disease and improve quality of life.
This year’s World COPD Day theme is: Spirometry “Are you short of breath? You may have COPD! Ask your doctor about a simple breathing test called spirometry.” The day is organised by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD), which raises awareness of COPD through events and activities that journalists are encouraged to cover.
Last year, 123 events took place in 38 countries including, for example, New Zealand, the UK, India, Bulgaria and Morocco. Events planned in New Zealand this year include COPD presentations to health professionals and COPD information stands in shopping centres.
The Asthma Foundation estimates that 1 in 7 New Zealanders aged 45 and over has COPD – more than 200 000 people, or the population of greater Hamilton.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) figures, in 2004 an estimated 64 million people had COPD. In 2005 more than 3 million people died of COPD –5 percent of all deaths globally that year. WHO also says that global deaths from COPD are projected to increase by more than 30 percent in the next 10 years without interventions to cut risks, particularly exposure to tobacco smoke.