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Ezyhealth & Beauty: Is COPD being because COPD is an irreversible condition. Ezyhealth & Beauty: What are the non-drug from 2006 to 2008, Chronic Obstructive Ezyhealth & Beauty: Tell us more about “Love
Whatever lung function is lost cannot be Our Lungs,” a public forum on 21st November.
regained. The earlier they are diagnosed Dr Ong: Besides medicines, regular exercise Dr Ong: The COPD Association (Singapore) Dr Ong: No. Currently, there are a lot of cases and treated, the better we preserve the lung helps. Pulmonary rehabilitation provides cause of hospitalisation. With the increasingly would like to reach out to both the medical that are diagnosed late. The first time that function and the person’s functional status. patients with regular exercise training, community as well as the public in this forum. people find out that they have COPD is when physiotherapy, breathing exercises, education This is the first time that the association is doing they come to the hospital due to shortness if steps are not taken to curb this deadly a public forum together with Singapore Cancer Society and the Health Promotion Board, and it is co-sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Ezyhealth & Beauty: What is the cost and Pfizer. It might be the first of a series of of not treating COPD for the patients and “Love Our Lungs” is held in commemoration Dr Ong: There will be higher medical costs. with the World COPD Day 2009. This day is a As the disease progresses, later on in life, situation is now changing, largely due to the worldwide programme, which was started by the person is likely to need more medical GOLD. On this day, all the countries will have an attention and incur higher health costs. Most event in conjunction with the World COPD Day. hospitalisation, which is very expensive. a Respiratory Physician at Mount Elizabeth COPD in Singapore
Medical Centre, the President of the Chronic Ezyhealth & Beauty: How prevalent is COPD Ezyhealth & Beauty: As the COPD progresses, how does it affect a patient’s Association (Singapore) and the National Leader of the Global Initiative for Chronic sufferers in Singapore is 64000, which means Dr Ong: In the early stages, the person can Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (GOLD) who that 3.5 per cent of those above 30 years old share his thoughts on the recent updates have COPD. COPD is consistently within the top persistent or frequent coughing with phlegm. not widely available, especially in primary still progress, unfortunately, but at a slower As COPD progresses, the person may realise care. This year, our association, together rate. So if we can diagnose the person early Association (Singapore) has contributed to that he/she easily feels short of breath, improve the awareness of the COPD situation Ezyhealth & Beauty: In Singapore, what is the especially with exertion. This is what usually handheld spirometers to GPs. At the same can have a normal lifespan and even avoid percentage of COPD patients who are smoking brings the person to seek medical attention. time, we are raising awareness about COPD Before that, they may think that the cough to encourage patients who are at risk to On COPD Association
Dr Ong: Based on what I have observed, about Ezyhealth & Beauty: What are the medications (Singapore)
more than 90 per cent of COPD patients are to help patients quit smoking effectively? Ezyhealth & Beauty: How did the COPD smokers (current smokers or ex-smokers). shortness of breath upon exertion, the lung Ezyhealth & Beauty: What are the treatment Association (Singapore) begin? What is the Smoking is a major risk factor for having COPD, function has already declined. Some people, therapies, which come in the form of a gum, the biggest one by far. Other causes would be as a result of the shortness of breath, give up in a shape of a cigarette and patches. Then Dr Ong: The COPD Association (Singapore) passive smoking, pollution, rare genetic causes, the activities that cause them to experience advised. A lot of people may not be able to there are oral medications that can help to industrial smoke and fumes as well as infection. shortness of breath. For example, if they quit smoking so easily. There are medications However, these are all very uncommon factors. usually walk two kilometers daily, they may smoking. There are two in the market, one is varenecline (Champix), the other one is What they don’t realise is that they may prevent the disease from worsening. If they be less breathless, but they also give up the already quit and they are still symptomatic, These tablets do not contain nicotine and things that they like to do. Because COPD they are given inhaler medications, which we work on the nicotinic receptors in the brain is a gradual process, they may think that call bronchodilators, for example, tiotropium when the patients decide to quit. It helps to COPD as a self-inflicted illness, so there was they are still okay and the breathlessness is (Spiriva) to make it easier for the patient to encourage abstinence from smoking through just a part of the ageing process. Then one a unique dual mode of action – it not only Championing
day, they get a bout of infection (severe provides relief from craving and withdrawal were also limited in the late stages so doctors flu or pneumonia). This is when they really symptoms but also reduces the pleasurable can give medicines but the patient will still get short of breath and they end up in the underutilised. It can come from doctors, effects of smoking. This helps patients to hospital emergency room gasping for air. nurses and pharmacists. There is also a Health That’s how a lot of cases present because Promotion Board (HPB) quit line that they time to have an association that will promote they are not diagnosed till at a late stage. can call free of charge. According to a survey Ezyhealth & Beauty:How do you foresee This is a chronic disease that is gradual in early diagnosis. The members of the COPD would not seek professional help when they Dr Ong: I can see a change by now because I Association (Singapore) at that time came want to quit. Most would prefer to seek help can see more emphasis on COPD. Previously, from different walks of life. The core people who were running the association consisted Act early for COPD
In the late stages of the disease, they may and smoking. In fact, there are more COPD of people with medical background such as Ezyhealth & Beauty: How important is earlier need oxygen therapy continuously. When a sufferers than lung cancer sufferers. There are doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, respiratory big part of the lungs are destroyed, there are more COPD deaths than lung cancer deaths it will be a possibility By Dr Shyneth Galapia Dr Ong: Early diagnosis is very important surgical modalities that a person can consider.
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