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Exercise vs drugs in treatment guidelines

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The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation is backing new guidelines for the care of people with serious respiratory illnesses.

Chief executive Letitia Harding says the guidelines cover both medication and non-pharmacological management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which can include emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic airflow obstruction.

About 15 percent of of New Zealand adults aged over 45 are affected by COPD, and Māori are 3.5 times more likely than non-Māori to be hospitalised for such conditions and 2.2 times more likely to die of them.

Ms Harding says non-pharmacological management can involve cutting out smoking or taking 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day.

"That's actually quite a lot for someone who can't get that breath into them. You've got to support them to build that up. Support them Do your breathing exercises, that's actually what's really important and that's what comes through in these guidelines. We've got some really practical advice we are going to arm our health professionals with," she says.

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