World COPD Day November 21

World COPD Day this year is being held on 21 November to raise awareness of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) symptoms, and empower people with COPD to take control of their condition and symptoms through self-management approaches.

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One in seven Australians 40 years or older has COPD, however many sufferers do not know they have it and mistake their symptoms as signs of ageing or lack of fitness.

Lung Foundation Australia stresses that early diagnosis through case finding and spirometry is critical in providing early access to treatment, and improving outcomes and quality of life for people living with COPD.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in 2015 about 7,100 people were recorded as having died in Australia from COPD (3,800 males and 3,300 females) making it the fifth leading cause of death after coronary heart disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, cerebrovascular disease, and lung cancer.

Community pharmacists support people living with COPD with advice on medicine use and help improving inhaler technique. Your pharmacist plays an important role in helping to identify patients at risk of COPD through case-finding and helping those with a diagnosis to understand their COPD Action Plan, monitor symptoms and recognise when symptoms require medical attention.

Lung Foundation Australia has developed  resources which assist understanding how to use inhaler device videos and fact sheets as part of its commitment to ensuring lung health is a priority for all and works to promote lung health among the wider community, patients and health professionals.