Chronic Lung Disease

What is COPD?

COPD is a general term for a range of breathing problems.

Chronic ... means long term

Obstructive ... refers to narrowing of the breathing passages

Pulmonary ... refers to the lungs

Over 200,000 New Zealanders have COPD, including 15 percent of Kiwis aged over 45.

Managing Your COPD

There is currently no cure for COPD, however there are lots of ways you can help yourself to manage the symptoms of COPD and get the most out of life.

Important tools to help you feel good:

  • You can get the most out of life with COPD.  Educating yourself as much as possible about your condition, quitting smoking, eating well and exercising are all important.  It is also important to know what support and help is available to you.  This section of our website contains some steps to help you manage your condition as well as you can. 
  • Take your medication as prescribed.
  • It is important that you understand how your medicines work and then take them as prescribed.  Your GP, Practice Nurse or Pharmacist can all help with your medication queries. 
  • Become smokefree.
  • Giving up smoking is the most important step you can take. Every cigarette you smoke adds more damage and will make your condition worse. It is never too late, and there are lots of people and organizations that want to help you.  You can do it.

Physical activity

Trying to keep active is an important part of being healthy for everyone.  When you exercise, it helps your muscles, joints and circulation work as best as possible. You may get short of breath during activity, however with the right support and information, exercise can be an effective part of your management plan.  Green Prescription is a useful exercise programme which is shown to have benefits for people with COPD.

Follow a Self Management Plan

A Self Management Plan can help you work out how well you are and what to do if your COPD gets worse.  At your next health check up, ask your nurse or GP for your COPD Management Plan.

Visit your health team regularly.

There are lots of people who want to support you to look after yourself. It is important to build a partnership with your GP, nurse, respiratory educator and pharmacist.  Following their advice should help you reduce the number of symptoms you face.

Free Flu Vaccine

It is recommended that if you have COPD you should have a Flu Vaccination each year as you are more prone to infection.  The best time to get your Flu Vaccination is in autumn (mid-March) and is FREE!

Free COPD Check

Did you know that if you have COPD, you can have a free yearly check up at your medical centre - ask you nurse when yours is due.  This is part of the Long Term Conditions programme available to all West Coasters with COPD.