Mildura Weekly : Friday December 19 Vol 9 No 7 2014
26 NEWS MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2014 By VINNIE RODI A RECENT report published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has found that Mildura rates in the top 20 regional towns in the country when it comes to hospital admissions related to chronic ob- structive pulmonary disease – or COPD. A long-term lung disease, COPD is characterised by airflow limita- tion that is not fully treatable, with as many as 2000 Mildura residents reportedly hospitalised as a result of COPD each year. Many patients experience an increase in symptoms in the early morning and during the evening, im- pacting quality of life and the ability to carry out day-to-day activities. And while the condition has proven debilitating for countless numbers of people across the region, there is some light at the end of the tunnel, with a new therapy called Bretaris Genuair (or aclidinium bro- mide) recently reimbursed by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. The drug aims to help open air- ways and provide ongoing relief for COPD sufferers, and comes in a pre- loaded inhaler which is taken in the morning and at night, with the treat- ment belonging to a group of medi- cines called ‘bronchodilators.’ Mildura GP Dr Gerald Murphy, PICTURED, who has treated several patients with COPD, said no clear reason existed for why the condition had become so common in the re- gion. “Smoking is one of the main causes of COPD, however Mildura’s rate of smokers is no different than any other regional area,” he said. “There is also no direct relation between Mildura’s climate, or even the high level of pesticide sprays used by farmers across the district. “For some reason Mildura is sim- ply a hot spot for this condition, and it often goes undiagnosed. “Doctors everywhere are trying to encourage smokers in particu- lar to come in and undergo a lung function test, as smokers will usually dismiss the condition as smokers cough. “Unfortunately most people won’t notice too much of a differ- ence until they lose 50 percent of their lung function. “It could be that they find that they can longer keep up with the kids, or something as easy as taking a shower leaves them breathless. “We are encouraging anyone with breathing difficulties to visit their GP and get checked out.” Dr Murphy said that while smok- ers were the main victims of COPD, non-smokers were also affected. “Family history can be a factor,” he said. “Unfortunately it’s turning into an extremely common disease, and one that people need to be aware off, as it is quite easy to dismiss.” Dr Murphy said the potential benefits of Bretaris Genuair – a new drug on the market to help combat the effects of COPD – were numer- ous, while also reminding patients that all new medicines have side ef- fects. He encouraged those utilising the new medication to tell their doc- tor or pharmacist if they develop a headache or symptoms related to the common cold. “As a chronic condition my main aim for my patients is to slow the progression of the disease and man- age their symptoms in a way that permits them to remain active and stay out of hospital,” he said. “With almost half of all those with COPD still in the prime of their working lives, they can’t afford to ex- perience symptoms or be unable to get up and about in the morning. “In the past 12 months close to 10 new drugs have come on the mar- ket to combat COPD, with the ma- jority working by drying out mucus and relaxing airways. “Other ways to combat the dis- ease include giving up smoking, and ensuring that you are vaccinated against the flu and pneumococcal pneumonia. “Unfortunately this is a disease that isn’t curable, with all treatments aimed at managing the condition.” COPD cost the Federal Govern- ment close to $929million in 2008- 09, with the majority of costs associ- ated with patients being admitted to hospital. In Australia among those aged 55 and over, at least five percent have COPD, and it is more common in any given year than the most com- mon types of cancer, road traffic ac- cidents or diabetes. Mildura is COPD hotspot: report • From Page 25 “This is the first year that we have been able to put up a dis- play, and we had both seen last year another couple raise money for a worthy cause, so we thought why not do something similar for Autism?” she said. “We have added a few special items to the display in recogni- tion of Autism, including a puzzle piece (the national sign for the condition), and a lot of blue (the national colour).” Officially getting underway to- night, residents have until Christ- mas Eve to donate to the cause. “We thought Christmas Eve would be the perfect finish to the fund-raiser, as most people stop looking at Christmas lights after Christmas Eve and even Christ- mas night,” Rebecca said. “While we don’t have a set fund-raising goal in mind, any figure would be a big help to AMAZE, which is a not-for-profit organisation.” The Worrell’s display will ‘light up’ each night from 8.30pm, with David and Rebecca to be on hand to speak to visitors. “The idea is for people who are already out looking at Christ- mas lights to come through and maybe donate some loose change,” Rebecca said. “David, myself and our oth- er children Amelia, 3, Tyler, 16 months, and Jaxon, 11 weeks, will also be around each night in the lead up to Christmas.” Rebecca said a Facebook page – ‘Raising money for Autism this Christmas’ – had also been estab- lished to help spread the message. “Anyone looking for more in- formation, or who would like to donate to AMAZE, can visit that page,” she said. More information about AMAZE is available by visiting www.amaze.org.au. Christmas display aims to raise funds, awareness A long-term lung disease, COPD is characterised by airflow limitation that is not fully treatable, with between 700 and 2000 Mildura residents reportedly hospitalised as a result of COPD each year. • Rebecca and David Worrell with Kobie, 2, and their Christmas lights. 424 San Mateo Avenue Mildura, Victoria, 3500 T (03) 5021 1777 F (03) 5021 1733 E firstname.lastname@example.org W www.milduraweekly.com.au Available for just $20 at the Mildura Weekly. Make your purchase and go into the draw for a chance to win the value of your purchase up to $100 QUALITY SMALL GOODS RANGE Phone 8583 5322 26 Randell Tce Monash CHRISTMAS ROASTS Come see Muller’s for your variety of Christmas Roasts. We wish all our valued clients Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
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