COPD Blights More Than One Million Lives

Posted on January 22, 2016
Archive : January 2016
Category : News

Is it more than just a smokers cough?

It's surprising how few people know about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD is the name for a collection of debilitating lung diseases including chronic bronchitis and emphysema that get progressively worse. Smoking is the main preventable risk factor for COPD and is thought to be responsible for 86% of deaths from the disease.

People with COPD have difficulty breathing, primarily due to the narrowing of the airways and destruction of lung tissue caused by smoking. Smokers often dismiss the early signs of COPD as 'smoker's cough' - yet if people continue smoking the condition worsens and everyday activities such as climbing stairs, housework or gardening can become increasingly difficult.

Despite low awareness, there are large numbers of people with this condition. More than 1 million people are living with COPD in England, with many more likely to be undiagnosed, and around 25,000 people die from the disease each year. In 2013-14, COPD led to more than 113,000 emergency hospital admissions in England.

That's why for this year's January Smoke free campaign Public Health England put the spotlight on COPD. The aim of the campaign is to illustrate the harm that smoking does to health, and encourage smokers to quit for good.

As part of the campaign to highlight the impact of COPD, Joanne, 40, a long-term smoker from Newcastle, joined Olympian Iwan Thomas and three other smokers in an experiment to see what living with severe COPD is like. Joanne had heard of COPD before, but didn't know very much about it.

After wearing a body corset and resistance breathing mask for a day to replicate the struggle for breath and tightness of the lungs and chest caused by COPD, she said: "I wouldn't wish the disease on anyone. I am quitting smoking this January and I would urge anyone else who's a smoker to quit with me." full article