Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a broad term to define airflow limitation that is not reversible.
A patient usually has a component of emphysema, chronic bronchitis or a combination of the two.
COPD is often associated with a history of cigarette smoking or exposure to hazardous chemicals.
- Almost 1 in 5 people over 40 have COPD
- COPD is the fourth most common cause of death in men and the sixth most common cause of death in women
- More people are dying from COPD each year
- COPD is the second leading cause of avoidable hospital admissions
* The Australian Lung Foundation
- Feeling puffed or short of breath when performing tasks such as walking up a hill, climbing stairs or even having a shower
- A build-up in the lungs of a sticky substance called phlegm which you swallow or cough-up
According to the Australian Lung Foundation, spirometry is the gold standard for diagnosing, assessing and monitoring COPD.
The Wesley Lung Function Laboratory offers state-of-the-art lung function testing, including spirometry.
Doctors can download a referral form here
Confirm diagnosis: The diagnosis and severity of COPD are determined by breathing tests such as spirometry, x-rays and blood tests to measure oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.
Optimise function: There are no medications that will cure COPD, but they can make you feel a lot better. Treatments can include exercise, weight and nutrition management and maintaining good sleep habits.
Prevent deterioration: Quit smoking – it is never too late. Have a flu vaccine annually and a pneumonia vaccine ever five years. See your GP and specialist regularly and ensure you have regular checks of your oxygen levels.
Develop a self-management and support plan: You should have a self-management plan agreed by you, your specialist and other health care workers.
You should increase your treatment early when you become unwell – this should be part of your action plan developed by your doctor. Notify your GP.
People may be given high flow oxygen when they are extremely breathless, however this may be harmful if you have COPD.
If your doctor advises low flow rates (e.g. 0.5-2 Litres per minute) you should have a medic alert bracelet stating this.
Breathwise Pulmonary Rehabilitation is a multi-disciplinary program of exercise and education for people with lung disease that runs at The Wesley Hospital.
Working with an experienced team of medical specialists, physiotherapists, nursing staff, occupational therapy, clinical psychologists, and pharmacists, this program will address the primary aims of pulmonary rehabilitation, which are to reduce the disability and handicap of people with chronic lung diseases and to restore patients to the highest possible level of independent functioning.
About the Program
You will need to attend twice a week for 8 weeks. The program will start off gently and will provide you with a home exercise program so you can remain fit and healthy once you have completed your