December 28, 2012

2012 November 14 – Australians urged to Show Us Your Lungs for World COPD Day

The Australian Lung Foundation are calling on Australians to ‘Show Us Your Lungs!’ and start taking lung health seriously because over 30 Australians die from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) each day1.

World COPD Day will take place on November 14 this year as part of The Australian Lung Foundation’s lung health awareness month campaign throughout November.

Australian Lung Foundation CEO Mr William Darbishire said that today’s event was about raising awareness of a very serious and debilitating disease.  “COPD is the second leading cause of avoidable hospital admissions7. Despite falling death rates, COPD is still a leading cause of death and disease burden after heart disease, stroke and cancer,” said Mr Darbishire.

COPD is a deadly long-term disease of the lungs which causes shortness of breath. Often referred to as ‘chronic bronchitis’ and ‘emphysema’, COPD affects one-in-seven Australians over 40 years of age5. However, as many as half of these people are unaware they have the condition despite experiencing symptoms that impact their daily lives2,5.

Australia has one of the highest rates of COPD deaths in the developed world – Australian mortality rates place Australia in the worst third of the 34 OECD countries.1

Mr Darbishire said that COPD is preventable and treatable if it is properly diagnosed3. “Identifying the early signs of COPD and acting early is important.  Symptoms include persistent cough, coughing up blood, breathlessness, chest pain, fatigue or sudden weight loss. Tobacco remains the single largest cause of COPD however other factors include exposure to dust, gas or fumes,” said Mr Darbishire.

“Anyone can check their lung health by completing the lung health checklist on our website lungfoundation.com.au,” said Mr Darbishire.

Mr Darbishire urged anyone with symptoms to speak to their doctor about their lung health. “While COPD has no cure, there are things that people can do to breathe easier, keep out of hospital and improve their quality of life4,” said Mr Darbishire.

“Lung disease doesn’t discriminate – it affects men and women, smokers and people who have never smoked, the old and the young so it is important to catch lung disease before it catches up with you,” said Mr Darbishire.

Show your support and join the Lung Foundation’s “Show Us Your Lungs!” campaign pages on Facebook and Twitter – facebook.com/australianlungfoundation OR  twitter.com/lungfoundation .

– ENDS –

For national media enquiries, please contact Bridget Dixon, Marketing and Public Relations Officer on (07) 3251 3644 or bridget@lungfoundation.com.au

About The Australian Lung Foundation:

The Australian Lung Foundation is the premier organisation for lung health in Australia, providing medical and support group representation nationwide. It was established in 1990 to reduce the significant and debilitating cost of lung disease and is the leading facilitator of research and professional development in lung disease. The Australian Lung Foundation offers a national network of patient support groups for people with lung conditions. Patients are supported with information via www.lungfoundation.com.au, a quarterly health education newsletter, telephone information and toll free support hotline (1800 654 301).

About the Lung Health Checklist:

The Lung Health Checklist allows people to understand their lung health and share the results with their healthcare provider if required. After completing the Lung Health Checklist, users receive a customised response providing advice on action to be taken for their lung health.

REFERENCES

  1. AIHW 2010. Australia’s health 2010. Australia’s health no. 12. Cat. no. AUS 122. Canberra: AIHW.
  2. Buist AS, McBurnie MA, Vollmer WM et al. International variation in the prevalence of COPD (The BOLD Study): a population-based prevalence study. Lancet 1 September 2007; 370: 741-750
  3. McKenzie DK, Abramson M, Crockett AJ, Glasgow N, Jenkins S, McDonald C, Wood-Baker R, Frith PA on behalf of The Australian Lung Foundation. The COPD-X Plan: Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for the management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 2011.
  4. McKenzie DK, Frith PA, Burdon et al on behalf of The Australian Lung Foundation. The COPDX Plan: Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for the Management of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 2008, found at www.copdx.org.au
  5. Toelle B, Xuan W, Bird T, Abramson M, Burton D, Hunter M, Johns D, Maguire G, Wood-Baker R, Marks G. COPD in the Australian burden of lung disease (BOLD) study. Respirology 2011;16 (Suppl 1):12
  6. AIHW 2012. Australia’s health 2012. Australia’s health no. 13. Cat. no. AUS 156. Canberra: AIHW
  7. Page A, Abrose S, Glover J et al. Atlas of Avoidable Hospitalisations in Australia: ambulatory care-sensitive conditions.  Adelaide PHIDU. University of Adelaide.  2007