A charity has set up an “online breath test” which can help detect lung problems.
People who get out of breath doing every day tasks such as walking up stairs have been encouraged to take the online test by the British Lung Foundation (BLF).
Sufferers are often unaware they have disease
The charity said that millions of people across the UK could have the lung condition chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and are not even aware that they have it.
However, they may be struggling with their symptoms and a lower quality of life. The BLF also says the condition can progress quickly because of no treatment being received.
COPD is used to describe a number of lung conditions including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
The new test will help people decide if it’s time to see their GP and look at their symptoms.
Thousands already diagnosed are ‘tip of the iceberg’
Every year 115,000 people are diagnosed with COPD across the UK, but the BLF says this figure is just a small proportion of those that could have the disease.
BLF chief executive Dr Penny Woods said: “COPD isn’t just a smokers’ disease. It usually develops because of long-term damage to your lungs from breathing in a harmful substance, usually cigarette smoke, as well as smoke from other sources and air pollution.
“Jobs where people are exposed to dust, fumes and chemicals can also contribute to developing COPD. That could be anyone.
“We’re aware of 1.2 million diagnosed with the condition but that’s the tip of the iceberg. Millions have this life-limiting lung disease, and they don’t even know it.”
Symptoms of COPD include having a cough that lasts a long time, wheezing in cold weather and producing more phlegm than usual.
The test can be found at www.blf.org.uk/breathtest
Source: British Lung Foundation
Date Published: November 28, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown