News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


More resources needed for COPD sufferers

Tuesday, November 15, 2016
More resources needed for COPD sufferers

Tomorrow marks World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Day (COPD) – a condition that affects thousands of New Zealanders, yet most have never heard of it.

COPD, also known as CORD for Chronic Obstructive Respiratory Disease, is an umbrella term involving three diseases; emphysema, chronic bronchitis and asthma. In people with COPD, the airways are permanently obstructed and the tissue inside the lungs is damaged, making it hard to breathe.

Dr Felix Ram, of the School of Nursing in Massey University’s College of Health, says 15 per cent of Kiwis over 45 have the disease.

“Of these 200,000 people, nearly 30,000 New Zealanders are estimated to be living with severe COPD requiring lengthy stays in hospital, and it’s the fourth leading cause of death in New Zealand after ischaemic heart disease, stroke and lung cancer,” Dr Ram says.

Symptoms include coughing, increased phlegm and breathlessness. COPD progresses over time and while it is not curable, it can be controlled and further damage prevented. It is not fully reversible and usually occurs in people who have smoked or continue to smoke cigarettes. Exposure to irritants such as dust and fumes can also increase the risk of developing the disease.

Dr Ram is calling for urgent additional resources to be allocated towards Māori, Pacific peoples and those living in lower socio-economic areas. “Hospitalisation rates are highest for Māori, at 3.5 times the non-Māori rate and 2.2 times the rate for death. Pacific people’s hospitalisation rates are 2.8 times higher than those of other New Zealanders.

“Although COPD rates are relatively evenly spread across New Zealand, deaths in 2011 were above average in Hawke’s Bay, Lakes and Wairarapa District Health Board regions. Hospitalisation rates are 5.1 times higher in the most deprived areas than in the least deprived, and death rates are 2.7 times higher,” Dr Ram says.

A 2007 study of lung damage caused by smoking in people with the disease, conducted by Dr Ram and co-investigators from London Chest Hospital in the United Kingdom, found that once the disease was established, the damage from smoking continued even after the person quit. The research, published in the European Respiratory Journal, was the first study to show continued damage in COPD patients.

“The damage continued even 10 years after a person stopped smoking and the lung damage was no different to those patients who continued to smoke. It is vital we put resources into stopping people taking up the habit in the first place and also encourage people to quit well before any symptoms of COPD develop,” Dr Ram says.

A study of patients with asthma (one of the three components of COPD) published in the Journal of Primary Health Care in 2014 by Dr Ram and Wendy McNaughton, from Comprehensive Care Limited, showed that the use of a unique online practice- based assessment and decision support tool known as GASP (Giving Asthma Support to Patients) significantly reduced:
Hospital admissions by 33 per cent
Exacerbations by 35 per cent
Emergency department presentations by 37 per cent

Dr Ram says further data analysis reported a significant reduction in smoking, with nearly 20 per cent of patients quitting smoking as a result of using GASP.

“The GASP study reported significant improvements with Māori and Pacific populations. Our first study of the adapted GASP-COPD tool will target these population groups who have historically reported poor outcomes for respiratory illness.

“We are hoping to obtain funding to adapt the GASP tool for patients with COPD and are confident that the benefits afforded to those who use GASP, will also be available to people with COPD,” Dr Ram says.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Gordon Campbell: On Chuck Berry (And James Comey, And Bill English)

Back when many people were still treating rock’n’roll as a passing fad – was calypso going to be the new thing? – Chuck Berry knew that it had changed popular music forever. What is even more astonishing is that this 30-ish black r&b musician from a middle class family in St Louis could manage to recreate the world of white teenagers, at a time when the very notion of a “teenager” had just been invented. More>>

Howard Davis Review:
The Baroque Fusion Of L'arpeggiata

Named after a toccata by German composer Girolamo Kapsberger, L'Arpeggiata produces its unmistakable sonority mainly from the resonance of plucked strings, creating a tightly-woven acoustic texture that is both idiosyncratic and immediately identifiable. Director Christina Pluhar engenders this distinctive tonality associated with the ensemble she founded in 2000 by inviting musicians and vocalists from around the world to collaborate on specific projects illuminated by her musicological research. More>>

African Masks And Sculpture: Attic Discovery On Display At Expressions Whirinaki

Ranging from masks studded with nails and shards of glass to statues laden with magical metal, the works are from ethnic groups in nine countries ranging from Ivory Coast to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: We’re All Lab Rats

A couple of years ago, there were reports that Silicon Valley executives were sending their children to tech-free schools. It was a story that dripped of irony: geeks in the heart of techno-utopia rejecting their ideology when it came to their own kids. But the story didn’t catch on, and an awkward question lingered. Why were the engineers of the future desperate to part their gadgets from their children? More>>

  • CensusAtSchool - Most kids have no screen-time limits
  • Netsafe - Half of NZ high school students unsupervised online

  • Obituary: Andrew Little Remembers Murray Ball

    “Murray mined a rich vein of New Zealand popular culture and exported it to the world. Wal and Dog and all the other Kiwi characters he crafted through Footrot Flats were hugely popular here and in Australia, Europe and North America." More>>

    ALSO:

    Organised Choas: NZ Fringe Festival 2017 Awards

    Three more weeks of organised chaos have come to an end with the Wellington NZ Fringe Arts Festival Awards Ceremony as a chance to celebrate all our Fringe artists for their talent, ingenuity, and chutzpah! More>>

    ALSO:

    Wellington.Scoop: Wellington Writer Wins $US165,000 Literature Prize

    Victoria University of Wellington staff member and alumna Ashleigh Young has won a prestigious Windham-Campbell Literature Prize worth USD$165,000 for her book of essays Can You Tolerate This? More>>

    ALSO:

    Scoop Review Of Books: Excerpt - Ice Bear: The Cultural History Of An Arctic Icon

    “During the last decade the image of the polar bear has moved in the public imagination from being an icon of strength, independence and survival in one of the most climatically extreme of world environments, to that of fragility, vulnerability and more generally of a global environmental crisis.” More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
    Health
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news