Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a serious respiratory condition that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.  Most people with COPD have both of these conditions.  COPD has a substantial impact on the health of New Zealanders and is estimated to affect 15% of the adult population over the age of 45 years.

More than 85% of COPD arises from tobacco smoking.  Other causes include cannabis smoking, and occupational exposure to dust.  As the disease progresses, it affects quality of life through poor mobility and social isolation, and often results in anxiety or depression. COPD is irreversible, but treatments and lifestyle changes can manage the disease and improve the quality of life of those affected.

In Canterbury, women have higher rates of COPD (8.5%) than for the rest of New Zealand (7.4%), but the rate of hospitalisations was significantly lower than the national rate.  Māori had a significantly higher rate than all other groups.

Read the full issue summary for COPD [PDF].