COPD – Could This Be You? World COPD Day 2014

“COPD – could this be you?” is Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland’s message for World COPD Day 2014. To mark the day, the charity is supporting a campaign to make people in Forth Valley aware of the UK’s fifth biggest killer and what they can do to improve their lung health.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) affects more than three million people in the UK, over 6,000 in Forth Valley alone.

The term COPD is used to describe a number of conditions, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The lungs are damaged and it is difficult to get air in and out, making people feel breathless. COPD is caused mainly by smoking, but also by airborne pollution. It can also be the result of an inherited genetic deficiency.

Many living with COPD do not realise they have it because they confuse their symptoms with getting older and being ‘out of shape’. Almost two thirds of people with COPD don’t realise it. It is important that people have a diagnosis because effective interventions are available which can improve people’s quality of life. CHSS Respiratory Coordinator, Lorna Stevenson, explains:
‘The sooner COPD is diagnosed the earlier treatment can begin. Anyone who has a persistent cough, phlegm, wheezing or shortness of breath should ask their GP about a simple breathing test called spirometry. This will check their lung function.

As well as receiving appropriate medication, people can make lifestyle changes at any stage of the disease. This will help them to feel better and live a more active, fulfilling life. It’s never too late!’

CHSS is reaching out to different communities across Scotland to deliver information and advice on recognising the symptoms of COPD, the benefits of getting a diagnosis and how positive lifestyle changes can improve quality of life at any stage of the disease. As part of this CHSS will be manning a stall on the 19th of November at the Howgate shopping centre in Falkirk so drop by for more information or to have a chat. CHSS has also produced information packs to support events around the country marking World COPD Day 2014. For more information and confidential advice about COPD and other chest, heart and stroke conditions call our Advice Line nurses for the price of a local call on 0808 801 0899 or visit the CHSS website