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Asthma and COPD

Asthma and COPD are both respiratory diseases, yet they are two very different diseases. Asthma is a persistent inflammation of the airways. In COPD, the airways are damaged by, for example, smoking or because you have been in contact with irritants for an extended period of time.

Asthma

In asthma, the airways are hypersensitive to certain stimuli: the muscles contract, the mucous membranes swell and produce more mucus. As a result, the airways become narrower, less air can pass through and shortness of breath occurs. Often, asthma goes hand in hand with allergy. Allergic stimuli that can cause a respiratory response include house dust mites, pet dander, mould and pollen. In addition, the airways can react to smoke, chlorine smell, baking smell, temperature changes, steam and fog, as well as physical exertion and colds or flu. You usually get symptoms immediately, sometimes only after hours. In one family, there are often several people with asthma.

COPD

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is an umbrella term for chronic bronchitis and pulmonary emphysema. The airways are permanently narrowed, causing the patient to suffer from shortness of breath. The main cause is smoking, although COPD can also be caused by prolonged work in an environment with lots of small dust particles that irritate the lungs. The lung mucous membranes become permanently inflamed, causing irreparable damage to the small branches in the lungs in particular.

The first symptoms often appear after the age of 40. You experience wheezing, coughing and phlegm production. You become tired more quickly or short of breath with light exertion. Colds, flu and pneumonia cause additional symptoms. Your GP can determine whether you have COPD with a breathalyser called spirometry.

Asthma and COPD consultation

The practice has a special consultation hour for patients with asthma and COPD. This consultation hour is conducted by a somatic care assistant in close cooperation with the GP. The following topics are discussed during this consultation hour:

  • Pulmonary function test
  • Lifestyle advice
  • Referral to other healthcare providers
  • Advice on medication

The check-up takes place once or twice a year. In this way, the practice counsellor helps reduce symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease.


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New telephone system

From 20 June, we are using a new telephone system. With this system, you can choose not to wait for the assistant to speak to you, but to be called back by the assistant at a later time. Of course, you can always choose to stay in the queue.

With this, we hope to increase the practice's accessibility and manage waiting times better. It will take some getting used to for everyone. For you, because you will suddenly come into contact with the practice in a different way, and also for the assistants, who will have to familiarise themselves with this way of working. We hope for your patience and especially for an improved accessibility of our GP care for you.

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