COPD – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Adam Doyle (Physiotherapist – Burnie)
What is COPD?
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an umbrella term for any condition that causes airflow restriction, blockage and breathing related problems.
COPD is a common lung condition affecting both men and women. Around 1 in 7 Australians aged 40 years and over have some form of COPD (lungfoundation.org.au)
The most common conditions include:
- Chronic bronchitis
- Chronic asthma.
These conditions cause a narrowing of your airways, making it difficult to breath. There can be a range of sources which can ‘flare up’ the condition including allergies, hay fever (pollen and dust), stress/anxiety or infection. Difficulties in breathing can also be caused by a retention of secretions (or phlegm as it is better known). So, if you or someone you know finds it difficult to clear their throat or ‘always has something on their chest’ then let our team know!
Indigenous Australians are 2.5 times more likely to have COPD than non-Indigenous Australians.
Whilst COPD is not a contagious disease, it is the second leading cause of avoidable hospital admissions in Australia.
Exercise and COPD
Did you know that exercise can be beneficial for management of your COPD?
Research supports the use of tailored exercise programmes as prescribed from Physiotherapists and/or Exercise Physiologists. Specific exercise can help to improve breathing, quality of life and the ability to engage in hobbies.
Here at Coastal Physiotherapy, we provide one-on-one sessions that can help to create a plan with yourself and your GP to maximise your care or if you are more group inclined, we run group exercise classes (would require suitable assessment and referral to the group class by our trained team to ensure suitability).
The Lung Foundation of Australia has resources with further information for people with a COPD diagnosis, for their carers, and also for health professionals – these resources are freely available and can be accessed here: https://lungfoundation.com.au/