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Stay in control of chronic lung disease

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Have you had your Annual Review with your GP?
People who have COPD in the Cwm Taf University Health Board area are being urged by the British Lung Foundation to ensure they receive their Annual Review from their GP, to help them stay in control of their lung condition.

Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf together have the highest incidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Wales, with around 7,500 people diagnosed with the condition. The true figure however, is likely to be around 22,000 people, as it is thought that around two-thirds of people with the lung condition are undiagnosed.

COPD is a progressive lung condition, but there are treatments and interventions that can slow its progression, helping people to maintain a full and active life for as long as possible. The key is knowing how and when to take your medication, preparing yourself for any bouts of inclement weather, ensuring you have emergency medical supplies, receiving an annual flu jab, and being alert to the tell-tale signs of an exacerbation – otherwise known as a ‘lung attack’.

A yearly check-up, known as an ‘Annual Review’ is essential to monitor any changes in your lungs, ensuring that you continue to receive the correct dosage of medicine, and to address any health concerns.

Those who miss out on their yearly check up will not be getting the information and advice which could help them better manage their lung health and prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital.

Sister Hawys Youlden is a practice nurse in Rhondda Cynon Taf. She has been involved in a health-board wide COPD project to try improve services for people with COPD, and to try and curb the number of unnecessary hospital admissions in the area – a figure which currently stands at 1,067.

She said:

“People with COPD should have an annual review at their GP surgery. It’s so important people attend so that we can assess whether there have been any changes in your lung function and also to have a chat about any other health problems, concerns or worries you may have. This can help us spot any changes in your lungs, and the earlier we are able to do that, the better. Simply give your GP surgery a call and ask to be booked in for an annual review of your COPD.”

Chris Mulholland, Head of British Lung Foundation Wales, said:

“It’s really important for people with COPD to arm themselves against a lung attack. No one wants to go into hospital unnecessarily. So getting an annual review can help ensure that you stay as healthy as possible.”
Source: Cwm Taf University Health Board

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