‘Underdiagnosed and undertreated’: What western Sydney residents need to know about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) has held a stall at Westmead Hospital in a bid to raise awareness about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a lung condition affecting millions worldwide, and encourages western Sydney residents to take charge of their lung health.

COPD, characterised by chronic respiratory symptoms such as breathlessness, cough, and sputum production, is often underdiagnosed and undertreated.

Long thought of as a ‘smoker’s disease’, recent insights have revealed that there are multiple risk factors contributing to the development of COPD, including occupational and environmental exposures, as well as severe childhood respiratory infections.

This year’s COPD Day campaign aims to dispel the misconception surrounding COPD and emphasises the importance of recognising and addressing early warning signs with the theme ‘Breathing is Life – Act Earlier‘.

“COPD is underrecognised, underdiagnosed and undertreated,” WSLHD’s Luke Petrusma, Integrated Care COPD Clinical Nurse Consultant, said.

 Luke Petrusma (Integrated Care COPD CNC) & Christine Sausa (Respiratory Ambulatory Care CNS)

“These include occupational and environmental exposures, and severe childhood respiratory infections.

Raising awareness of these risk factors is important to maintain healthy lungs across the lifespan.

Luke Petrusma, WSLHD Integrated Care COPD Clinical Nurse Consultant

“This year’s campaign focuses on highlighting the importance of early lung health and how we can expand the horizon of COPD prevention and treatment by acting earlier.

“This can include preventing early risk factors, monitoring lung health from birth, diagnosing COPD earlier and providing treatment promptly.”

Luke recommends visiting the Lung Foundation website for more information.