What is COPD?

COPD is an umbrella term that includes a number of common lung diseases. These block the airways, making breathing difficult. It is estimated that up to 200,000 Kiwis are affected by COPD.

COPD stands for “Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease”

  • Chronic (long term – it won’t go away)
  • Obstructive (partly blocked airways)
  • Pulmonary (the lungs)
  • Disease (sickness)

The term COPD is an umbrella term for several breathing problems. It can include conditions such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Common symptoms can include coughing, increased phlegm and breathlessness, especially with exercise.

Find out more

Risk Factors

  • Age – typically over 40 years of age.
  • Smoking history – mainly current or ex-smokers. Also high instances of occupational dust and chemicals exposure.
  • Environmental tobacco smoke.
  • Indoor and outdoor air pollution.
  • Nutrition.
  • Recurrent infections.
  • Socio-economic status.
Managing COPD

Self-Management Plan - managing your symptoms

There is no cure for COPD however there are many ways you can manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

  • Become Smokefree. For more information on reaching this goal visit Quitline.
  • Use your inhalers correctly.
  • Attend Pulmonary Rehabilitation.
  • Keep physically active.
  • Have the annual flu vaccine.
  • Follow your Self-Management Plan If you would like support or you do not have a Self- Management Plan please contact us here or call us on 06 835 0018 or 0800 ASTHMA (278 462)
  • Keep warm and have a dry insulated house.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
  • See your health professional regularly.

Other tips to manage your symptoms in particular your breathlessness visit www.bradcliff.com

How is your COPD? Take the COPD Assessment Test (CAT) 
Click above to take the COPD Assessment Test and see how your condition management is.

Lung Function Test

What is Spirometry?

Spirometry or Lung Function Testing is a simple test that measures how quickly and how much air you can blow out. Spirometry is useful in diagnosing and managing lung disease especially for measuring and monitoring asthma and chronic pulmonary lung disease (COPD). It is recommended to have regular testing if you have a lung disease.

Having a spirometry test is straightforward. The test involves you taking a full breath in and blowing out as hard and fast as you can into a tube attached to the spirometry machine. The test is performed sitting down.

Our Breathe Hawke’s Bay team of nurses can carry out this test as part of a respiratory assessment. These take 45mins – 1hr and we charge just $5.00 for the spirometry portion to cover the cost of your own personal mouthpiece.

You may be required to do a pre and post spirometry test. This entails you taking a reliever inhaler such as Salbutamol (Ventolin, Respigen, Salair, Salamol) so we can measure how well it works for you. You will be asked not to take your usual reliever medication for a few hours prior to the test so we can get an accurate reading.

Don’t Forget to Breathe – COPD Resource

Don’t Forget to Breathe – COPD Resource

Written by a New Zealand based team of a nurse, a physio, a patient and a carer, this resource pulls together practical information about managing and living with COPD. In its second edition the book is available as a free download and can be purchased for kindle/e-reader too.

The book can be downloaded for free from http://dontforgettobreathe.org.nz/



Spacer Demonstration


Asthma First Aid


COPD Breathe Easy Support Group

Breathe Hawke’s Bay facilitates support groups held the last Wednesday of every month (except January) alternating between Hastings and Napier. There is also a group in Central Hawke’s Bay that meets 2nd Tuesday of the month.

These informal get-togethers are for those suffering from COPD, or any respiratory condition and their carers. Each meeting features a guest speaker who presents on relative topics.

Contact us on 06 835 0018 or 0800 ASTHMA (278 462) for more information. 

Contact us for more information

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