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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is disease of the respiratory system (lungs) and is an umbrella term used to describe conditions including chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)What is COPD?

One in seven people in the UK are affected by some form of chronic lung disease, most commonly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.

It is an incurable yet largely preventable disease. With early diagnosis and the right interventions, lung disease can be slowed down, allowing people to live healthy lives for longer. COPD patients are classed as having a long-term condition.

Why have we chosen COPD?

There are a large number of people at risk of developing COPD. Also, there are large numbers who have the disease but are unaware of it. This is significant in a city where respiratory disease is one of the main contributors to the widening life expectancy gap. Over the past 10 years, death rates from COPD have fallen nationally. Rates in Leicester, however, are significantly higher than in England, and Leicester has a high proportion of deaths in the under-75s.

Nearly 14% of all deaths in Leicester are caused by respiratory disease. It is reported that pneumonia accounts for 33% and COPD 30% of these deaths. Mortality rates from both of these diseases are significantly higher in Leicester when compared to the England average.

Across Leicester, higher respiratory mortality rates are seen in the west of Leicester where there are higher levels of deprivation and smoking prevalence.

By far the highest risk factor associated to COPD is smoking tobacco. In fact, 84% of all deaths from COPD are attributable to smoking. In Leicester 25% of people smoke, and it is highest in younger age groups, and as high as 36% in white ethnicity groups. The national smoking prevalence rate is 22%. A long-term smoker, on average, will have a life expectancy of 10 years less than a non-smoker.

In Leicester much higher smoking prevalence is seen in the west of Leicester, predominately among white populations living in areas of high deprivation.

Lung cancer rates are also higher in the west of the city.

What we will do to improve COPD outcomes?

  • Improving access to COPD services and disease management, including patient and clinical education, by increasing prevalence rates to 2.8% by 2015/16
  • Improving community based support including rehabilitation, specialist nursing and use of telehealth and telemedicine
  • Reducing smoking prevalence by increasing the number of 4 week smoking quitters

What will be different by 2015?

  • Patients with COPD will be better informed to manage their condition
  • 50 people will have access to telehealth and health coaching to support their COPD
  • Clinicians in primary care will have increased skills and knowledge to enable better management of patients’ conditions
  • A reduction in the prevalence of smoking by increasing 4 week smoking quitters to 2700 per annum
  • We will continue to work towards fewer people dying prematurely from COPD

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