COPD is a progressive, life-threatening disease that is estimated to affect more than 251 million people globally and is estimated to be the third leading cause of death by 2020 , . In Asia Pacific, an estimated 56.6 million are afflicted with moderate to severe COPD . Despite the number of people impacted by this disease, there is limited awareness and a stigma associated with the disease, and once patients receive the diagnosis, they often don’t know how to overcome the shock of the disease.
COPD is significantly underdiagnosed worldwide including in Malaysia. The WHO has highlighted that COPD is likely to increase in the coming years due to higher smoking prevalence and aging populations in many countries4. It is important to pay attention to this trend as Malaysia is an aging nation with a significant number of smokers, estimated at 5 million currently5,6. In the past decade, it was estimated that there were approximately 448,000 cases of moderate to severe COPD in Malaysia7. This number may hit more than 1.25 million cases in the coming years, as at least a quarter of smokers are expected to develop significant COPD8.
“To those who are not aware of the risks and signs of COPD, coughing with a sensation of breathlessness is the most common sign, while the most common risk factor for COPD is cigarette smoking. When a patient is diagnosed with COPD, we make every effort to help them quit smoking if they are still doing so. Following this, we also offer pulmonary rehabilitation. As many patients are older, they have decreased tolerance, so we give them vaccinations to avoid the seasonal flu. In addition, exercise is important to prevent loss of muscle mass,” said Dr Andrea Ban Yu-Lin, Consultant Respiratory Physician and Head of the Respiratory Unit at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre.
Touching on innovations that can benefit COPD patients, Dr Ban said non-invasive ventilation (NIV) can help COPD patients who have elevated levels of carbon dioxide retention in the bloodstream, and who are already on maximal medical therapy including long term oxygen therapy. “A study has shown that the use of home NIV plus oxygen reduces the risk of hospital readmission or death in hypercapnic COPD patients by 51%,” she added.
For COPD patients, Philips offers the following tips for living well and remaining active:
• Have a positive mindset – Alter your outlook on the disease and understand the key to remaining active lies within the individual.
• Define your goals – Ask yourself what you would like to be able to do. Set short- and long-term goals for yourself.
• Exercise sensibly – Exercise can help strengthen large muscle groups and improve airway circulation. Work toward enhancing strength, endurance and flexibility by breaking down tasks into smaller parts and schedule frequent rest periods.
• Maintain a healthy lifestyle – Sustain a healthy diet with proper nutrition and adequate sleep. A poor diet can make symptoms worse and affect the ability to exercise.
• Be patient – Understand that progress takes time. With exercise and a healthy diet, your strength and endurance can recover.
This World COPD Day, Philips is sharing real life “wins” that patients around the world are experiencing each day to motivate them through the management of their COPD challenges. Philips offers a variety of COPD and respiratory disease management solutions that provide treatment from hospital to home, while empowering patients to live an active lifestyle.
For more information on Philips COPD solutions or to help spread awareness for COPD patients globally, visit Philips.com/WorldCOPDDay. Follow the World COPD Day 2018 conversation on Twitter @PhilipsResp and at Facebook.com/PhilipsRespiratoryWellness.