Marking World COPD Day 15th November

It is World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) day on the 15th November. Patients and health professionals across Cumbria are sharing stories to show that with the right support it is possible to live well with COPD.

COPD is the name used to describe a number of conditions affecting the lungs including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It makes it difficult to breathe and you might find everyday tasks can be a real challenge. Approximately 11,000 people in Cumbria are diagnosed with the disease but many more live with it undiagnosed.

Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) provides multiple services for people living with COPD including Pulmonary Rehabilitation; a 7 week programme of exercise and education designed to improve quality of life and exercise tolerance.

Lori Prescott, Team Leader at The Carlisle Community COPD team said:

 “Patients are encouraged to continue regular exercise and set long term goals in order to further improve lifestyle, boost confidence and to enjoy daily activities. The rehabilitation class caters for all levels of ability- some patients managing only seated exercises through to others jogging on the treadmill, all with the common aim of improving their current health.”

Toni Luisi aged 78 from Kendal took action after struggling for many years with lung and health problems and enrolled on his local pulmonary rehabilitation course. He was determined to take control of his breathing when doing simple day to day tasks. Tony has already noticed the benefits, He said:

“The course has been really good and I would highly recommend it to anyone with breathing difficulties. The one thing I said I’d like to do is walk up to the Castle in Kendal and I have now been able to do this twice. I can’t recommend the course enough and I am very grateful to the staff that helped me, their dedication to their job and helping others is great. “

Another participant in the programme; a 34 year old man from Carlisle who had undergone emergency lung surgery and was known to have COPD said:

“After completing Pulmonary Rehabilitation I found a significant improvement in the distance I could walk and wasn’t as breathless. I was more confident in learning about the condition, exercising and understanding what the diagnosis for a young person would mean. I now do everything I can to improve and slow down the progression of the disease. I had a chest infection during the course and because of what I had learned at the sessions I knew what to do to and seek help. I am still receiving health care and know about all the options to get help with stopping smoking. I am battling with this but know I will get there.”

Another patient, a 62 year old man from Carlisle, had been off work for some time due to ill health – a combination of diabetes control, weight gain and chest infections.

He said: “I started to work with the Pulmonary Rehabilitation team, a diabetic nurse and a dietician – and started going to a slimming class.  My mood improved, I wasn’t as tired and I didn’t get out of breath as easily.  Not only was I able to do day to day activities without getting out of breath as much, I was able to start doing more exercise.   I lost two stones and returned to work as an HGV driver after being off work for quite a long time. I’m continuing to exercise at home and it has made such a difference to my life.”

You can discuss a referral to the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programme with your GP or Practice Nurse. Patients who already have a confirmed diagnosis of COPD can refer themselves by contacting their local service.

To find out more visit the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust website

The cold and damp weather, ice, snow and high winds can all aggravate any existing health problems and make us more vulnerable to respiratory winter illnesses. But there are lots of things you can do to manage your conditions and stay well this winter.

This advice sheet can give you more information about how you can stay well this winter with COPD

Five Top Tips to help with COPD

Book an early review with your practice/COPD nurse prior to winter
Receive the flu vaccination before winter
If you notice an increase in sputum, particularly if it is coloured or if you are getting increasingly short of breath, you should contact your GP or COPD nurse for advice
If you symptoms are getting worse, and you have been prescribed rescue medication, please considering using this as well as contacting a health professional
Only attend A&E if you are having significant difficulty breathing and your reliever inhalers are not working.

There is a Big Breakfast fundraising event at Carleton Clinic café on 30th November 9am – 11am. Anyone can come along and join in, have breakfast, make a donation; all proceeds are going to the British Lung Foundation to support patients with chronic lung problems