COPD is a progressive, irreversible lung disease which kills around 30,000 people a year in the UK – more than breast, bowel or prostate cancer.
More than three million people in the UK are thought to have COPD, yet more than two out of the three million are undiagnosed. The British Lung Foundation is campaigning to find the ‘Missing Millions’ affected by COPD in the UK and is calling for the introduction of routine lung function tests every three years in primary care for all those people at risk. At risk groups include people aged over 35 with a smoking history or people who have suffered from recurrent chest infections. If diagnosed early COPD patients can be treated and the progression of the disease can be halted.
COPD is both preventable and treatable and early diagnosis and treatment can slow the progression of the illness. Symptoms include a persistent cough, breathing problems, a wheezy chest, and recurrent chest infections.
Each year the British Lung Foundation focuses its campaigning around World COPD Day, an annual event organised by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) to improve awareness and care of COPD around the world. This year World COPD Day 2007 will take place on 14 November 2007.
To mark this year’s World COPD Day the British Lung Foundation is launching a special report called ‘Invisible Lives’ which shows where people are most at risk of COPD.
You can support the campaign by emailing your local MP (England), MSP (Scotland), AM (Wales) or MLA (Northern Ireland)
You can also voice your opinion by taking part in an opinion poll or signing the BLF campaigning charter.