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World COPD Day 2008

20 November 2008

News Release 17th November

World COPD Day is an annual event organised by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) to improve awareness of COPD around the world.   

This year it will take place on Wednesday 19th November 2008 and Jersey is supporting the British Lung Foundation’s (BLF) search to find nearly three million people affected by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, (COPD) one of the UK’s biggest killers.

COPD is an umbrella term for a number of conditions including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. If diagnosed early enough, progression can be halted and symptoms significantly improved by a combination of stopping smoking, appropriate inhaler therapy, and pulmonary rehabilitation proceeding to an exercise referral scheme. Indicators of COPD include a persistent cough and a wheezy chest and if you have these symptoms, or if you are a smoker or ex smoker and over the age of 35, you are asked to raise your concerns with your GP.

Unfortunately, prevalence in Jersey is high due to the legacy of cheap cigarettes in the past and it is estimated that around six thousand people could be living in Jersey with this condition undiagnosed.

The consultant for Respiratory Medicine in Jersey Dr Andrew Luksza says “COPD is an increasing problem and estimated to become the third commonest cause of death in the next 10 years. It does not attract attention because the topics of cough and phlegm are not glamorous and also because there is a perception that it is self inflicted."

He went on, "Our wish is to heighten awareness of COPD to find the undiagnosed adults in the community and we are working on a number of initiatives to try and recognise these patients at the earliest opportunity”.


 Notes to Editors:

1.      For further information, please contact Debra D’Orleans on Tel:443755

2.      COPD currently kills more people every year than colon cancer, more men than prostate cancer and more women than breast cancer - but a survey by the BLF reveals that only 14% of people in the UK have heard of COPD. Symptoms of COPD include a persistent cough, a wheezy chest, and recurrent chest infections.

3.      The Jersey Asthma Society support all respiratory conditions and fund the Asthma and Respiratory clinics which are run on a Saturday morning where you can either make an appointment or just drop in for help and advice.

4.      They also provide sponsorship for a Respiratory Nurse Specialist at the general hospital and a Community Respiratory Nurse at Family Nursing and Home care.

5.      They support COPD patients in a number of other ways such as the purchase of specialist equipment for both the hospital and for home use.

6.      This week there will be posters and information leaflets displayed in the main entrance of the General Hospital along with the details of the smoking cessation team and the Jersey Asthma Society, who actively support education and management of patients with COPD.

7.      Facts and Figures

· 3.7 million people have COPD in the UK – 2.8 million don’t know it
· More women die of COPD than of breast cancer
· More men die of COPD than prostate cancer
· More men die of COPD than colon cancer
· COPD is the fifth biggest killer in the UK

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