November 21, 2014

Lung Foundation Australia launches COPD-X Concise Guide

Lung Foundation Australia has launched new guidelines to help primary care health professionals to diagnose and manage one of the leading burdens on the Australian health system.

The new COPD-X Concise Guide for Primary Care is being launched to coincide with World COPD Day (November 19) which draws attention to this under-recognised and under-diagnosed disease.

Lung Foundation Australia CEO Heather Allan said while COPD was responsible for almost a third of all deaths due to lung disease[i], hundreds of thousands of people could have the disease without knowing it.

“One in seven Australians, 40 years or older, has COPD,[ii]” Mrs Allan said.

“But half of those who have progressed to a stage where they are experiencing symptoms will not realise they have it,[iii]” she said.

“That’s why guidelines like this are so important.

“Health professionals have an integral role in early diagnosis as many of the people they see may not even be aware that they have a lung condition.”

Lung Foundation’s GP Advisory Group Chairperson, Dr Kerry Hancock said the guide providedevidence-based, practicalrecommendations forprimary care health professionals on the diagnosis andmanagement of COPD.

“In Australia, most patients with COPD are managed by GPs,” Dr Hancock said.

“GPs manage many different acute and chronic diseases throughout their busy week and the proliferation of the various disease guidelines has become an increasingly daunting task to manage,” she said.

“That’s why we realised there was a need for short, concise guidance on COPD management during daily practice,” Dr Hancock said.

COPD National Program Chairman, Associate Professor Ian Yang said COPD was a leading cause of death and disease burden in Australia after heart disease, stroke and cancer.

“Symptoms occur gradually over the years and can be mistaken for signs of ageing, lack of fitness or asthma,” he said.

“This means people can lose almost 50 per cent of their lung function before being diagnosed.

“While there is currently no cure for COPD, it is preventable and treatable.

“Early diagnosis combined with self-management strategies at the early stages of the disease can reduce the burden of this lung disease.

“Each recommendation in this guide has been graded according to thestrength of evidence available and its applicability to clinical practice, whilst emphasising thatmanagement should be patient focused and individualised as needed.

“The guide also includes “practice tips” to enhance clinical care.

“We anticipate this guide will better meet the needs of our colleagues knowing that it is underpinned by these very comprehensive COPD-X guidelines.

“I would like to recognise Professor Michael Abramson, COPD-X Guidelines Committee Chairperson, who has expertly led the development of this excellent new resource,” Associate Professor Ian Yang said.

To register for the COPD-X guidelines or to download a pdf version of the COPD-X Concise Guide visit www.copdx.org.au

 

References

[i] Lung Disease in Australia, Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, University of Sydney, NSW, October 2014

[ii]Toelle B, Xuan W, Bird T, Abramson M, Atkinson D, Burton D, James A, Jenkins C, Johns D, Maguire G, Musk A, Walters E, Wood-Baker R, Hunter M, Graham B, Southwell P, Vollmer W, Buist A, Marks G.  Respiratory symptoms and illness in older Australians: The Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease (BOLD) study. Med J Aust 2013;198:144-148

 

[iii] Xuan W, Toelle B, Bird T, Abramson M, Graham B, James A, Johns D, Maguire G,
Wood-Baker R, Marks G. Prevalence of respiratory symptoms, illnesses and spirometric diagnoses in the Australian BOLD study. Respirology 2011; 16: 51.