With more than 200 people in County Tipperary dying from lung diseases in 2012, members of the public are being urged to protect their lung health by adopting a healthy lifestyle and by being aware that symptoms of persistent cough or shortness of breath are not normal and should be checked out by a doctor.
The appeal was made by the Irish Lung Health Alliance, a coalition of 16 leading Irish charities which has come together to focus public attention on the issue with the holding of Irelandâ€™s first-ever National Lung Health Awareness Week, supported by GSK, from September 22 to 29. For information on the campaign and what people can do to safeguard their lung health, visit www.lunghealth.ie.
It is estimated that one in five deaths in Ireland is caused by lung disease â€“ more than heart disease â€“ and Ireland has the third highest death rate from lung disease in Western Europe.
Lung disease incorporates asthma, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis, sleep apnoea, lung fibrosis, sarcoidosis, alpha one antitrypsin deficiency, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, bronchitis or emphysema.
Symptoms of lung disease include shortness of breath or wheeze, persistent cough or phlegm, or coughing up of blood, and if people have concerns they should visit their doctor straightaway.
Having a spirometry test is the fastest and most accurate way to measure lung function and screen for potentially fatal diseases. The test is painless and takes just a few minutes. Its importance is underlined by previous research undertaken by the Irish Lung Health Alliance which showed that one in seven Irish people had an undiagnosed lung condition5.
Dr. Anthony Oâ€™Regan, Consultant Respiratory Physician said: â€œWe hope that with this campaign that it will get people thinking about lung health and ultimately help to reduce the burden of lung disease on society. Itâ€™s important to emphasise that, in the majority of cases, lung disease is preventable by not smoking, avoiding toxins in the air, eating a healthy diet and living an active life. Issued