As we mark World COPD Day today, here are the signs and symptoms of the condition to look out for.
This may be the first time you’re hearing about Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. In fact, around 270,000 people in Ireland are living with this chronic lung condition without knowing it. While early diagnosis is the key to treating the progressive disease, at least 1,500 people die of COPD every year.
Today is World COPD Day. To raise awareness about its signs and symptoms COPD Support Ireland is asking people to be aware of the “ABC’s” of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
Signs and symptoms
A is for anyone aged 35 or over. This is a condition that can develop in people quite young, particularly if you are a smoker or if you regularly inhale dust, chemicals and fumes. Anyone living with chronic asthma or has a family history of lung-diseases should be aware that they are at risk of developing the condition also.
B is for breathlessness that is ongoing and does not improve over time.
C is for coughing with or without phlegm that again, does not improve with time. Flu season is a time when people living with COPD should be extra vigilant and avoid overly crowded places where possible. Joan Johnston, General Manager, COPD Support Ireland recommends that everyone, whether you have been diagnosed with the condition or not, should “get their ‘flu, pneumonia and COVID vaccines. This will help minimise the risk of spreading infection to others.”
According to Consultant Respiratory Physician & chair of COPD Support Ireland, Prof. Tim McDonnell, “COPD is a chronic disease that unfortunately does not go away. However early diagnosis means that treatment and support can be offered immediately meaning a much better quality of life, for longer.”
Getting tested for the disease is a simple procedure. A spirometry breathing test is used to measure how well air moves in and out of the lungs. This test is also used to detect asthma and cystic fibrosis, according to the HSE.
Anyone who fits into the “ABC’s” of COPD is urged to contact their GP or call the COPD AdviceLine on Freephone at 1800 832146 to speak to a COPD specialist nurse or physiotherapist.
There are 33 COPD support groups across the country that offer exercise and education programmes. For more information about where they are located and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease visit copd.ie.
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