COPD: Know it. Check it. Treat it.

COPD: Know it. Check it. Treat it, a campaign to raise awareness of a lung disease called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has been launched by NHS Lothian in collaboration with Livingston Football Club to help find people in West Lothian who may have the disease, but are unaware of it.

Most people have heard of emphysema or chronic bronchitis, these are all forms of COPD. COPD is a lung disease that kills more people in the UK each year than bowel, breast or prostate cancer. In West Lothian, approximately 3,0001 people are being treated with COPD, whilst more than 3.7 million people have the condition in the UK but over three quarters of those remain undiagnosed.

Dr Ninian Hewitt, Lead Clinician, Respiratory MCN, NHS Lothian said “We are encouraging everyone in Lothian at risk of COPD to: Know it – by recognising the main symptoms of shortness of breath and persistent cough, Check it – by seeing their doctor or nurse if they experience any of these symptoms, and Treat it – by managing the disease effectively and making lifestyle changes.”

Shena Brown, Respiratory Facilitator, West Lothian Community Health and Care Partnership, added: “COPD is a slow progressive disease and people can have it for years without realising. Many people who have the disease in the mild or early stage dismiss the symptoms as an inevitable sign of becoming ‘out of shape’, getting older or think it is ‘just a smoker’s cough’. In fact, many will only discover they have COPD when they need to go into hospital because their symptoms suddenly become much worse. That’s why it’s important for people to recognise the symptoms and visit their GP or practice nurse to get checked out and start treatment.”

COPD screening events are taking place at Bathgate Market on Fridays 23rd, 30th September and 7th October. People wanting to find out more about screening events and COPD can visit to seek further information.

About Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

· COPD is a serious lung disease that over time makes it hard to breathe

· COPD is a term used for a number of conditions including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease, which are all forms of COPD

· There are thought to be about 100,000 people in Scotland living with COPD.2

· COPD is the only major cause of death in Scotland on the increase and accounts for 4,500 deaths per year2

· In the UK, 3.7 million people are thought to have COPD and over three quarters of those are unaware that they have the disease3

· Generally, COPD affects people over the age of 35 who are, or who have been, smokers

· The main symptoms of COPD are shortness of breath and a cough you can’t get rid of

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