HEALTH officials in Shropshire are warning smokers about the dangers of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and how it can harm quality of life.
COPD, an umbrella term for serious and progressive lung diseases, led to more than 6,500 hospital admissions in Shropshire in 2014/15, with more than one million people nationally living with the disease.
Ip&e’s Help2Change Public Health England is highlighting the dangers of COPD, with 153 deaths each year in Shropshire attributable to the disease – and also stating the biggest preventable risk factor is smoking.
People with COPD have difficulties breathing, primarily due to the narrowing of their airways and destruction of lung tissue, and typical symptoms include breathlessness when active, a persistent cough and frequent chest infections.
Smokers can often dismiss the early signs of COPD as a “smoker’s cough”, but if they continue smoking and the condition worsens, it can greatly impact on their quality of life.
Large numbers of people with COPD are unable to participate in everyday activities such as climbing stairs, housework or gardening, with many even unable take a holiday because of their disease.
Dr Kevin Lewis, director of ip&e’s Help2Change, is encouraging people to give up smoking to improve their quality of life.
He said: “COPD may not be well-known but it can be a serious and severely debilitating disease, dramatically affecting people’s lives and leading to years of suffering.
“The single best thing a smoker can do to reduce their chances of developing this devastating disease is to stop smoking.
“Search ‘Smokefree’ online or call Help2Change on 0345 678 9025, your local stop smoking service, to get the help and support you need to quit smoking for good.”