Ina Mitchell - Institute for Respiratory Health

Ina Mitchell

COPD has impacted Ina’s life quite drastically as she used to play tennis, was an accomplished ballroom dancer and did quite a lot of walking every day. Unfortunately, after the diagnoses she had to give up many of the things she loves as she would just get too breathless.

Ina discovered L I F E when her daughter-in-law saw a magazine article. She cut it out and gave it to Ina, who rang up, went to a meeting and has never looked back.

“There was a hole in my life until I discovered L I F E,” said Ina. “I live alone, so the companionship has been great. I’ve made new friends, enjoy the monthly social outings and learning more about my lung disease from the experts.

“The L I F E magazine is also really helpful, there are lots of great tips on how to care for yourself, some of which I’ve put into practice.

“Everyone has a great sense of humour, so there’s lots of laughing and we all get on really well. I would recommend joining L I F E to everyone with a lung condition it will change your life for the better.”

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a group of long-term conditions that are related to the obstruction of airflow in the lungs. There are three main types of COPD:

Emphysema is when the air sacs known as alveoli lose their elasticity and thicken causing the airways to become narrow. This causes difficulty exhaling and limits the amount of oxygen that can pass into the bloodstream.

Chronic bronchitis is when the airway branches known as bronchi become inflamed, leading to increased mucus production and frequent respiratory infections. This phlegm causes aggressive coughing.

Chronic asthma does not respond to usual asthma medications. In an asthma attack, bronchial airways tighten up and swell.

COPD affects one in 20 Australians over the age of 45. It is the fifth most common cause of death in Australia. It cannot be cured but the symptoms can be managed. The good news is COPD is often preventable.