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Patient group launched for people with severe respiratory disease

COPD is a lung condition that makes it hard for sufferers to breathe due to obstruction of the airways.

Image: tube image via Shutterstock

A NEW PATIENT organisation aimed at providing support for almost half a million Irish people living with a potentially deadly respiratory condition was launched today by Minister Alex White.

COPD Support Ireland is a charity set up to support those living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung condition that makes it hard for sufferers to breathe due to obstruction of the airways in their lungs.

It is Ireland’s first national COPD support and advocacy body, bringing together local support groups from around the country, to help those living with, and caring for someone with, COPD.

COPD is a major cause of death and disability and mainly affects those aged over 40. It is estimated that there are more than 440,000 people with COPD in Ireland.

Leading cause of death

Michael McGloin, President of COPD Support Ireland, who was diagnosed with COPD 14 years ago and has worked tirelessly at a grassroots level to raise awareness of COPD, spoke at the launch of the new charity.

“COPD is destined to be the third leading cause of death globally by 2020, and with Ireland’s ageing population, it is an issue that we as a nation simply cannot ignore,” said. “This disease needs to be prioritised immediately if we are to avoid a future health time bomb.”

When I was first diagnosed with COPD in 1999 I found it hard to learn more about the disease and what I could expect from it. This led me to set up a support group in Sligo to help others with this condition. I hope that the development of this national organisation will provide much needed support and comfort for those currently living with the disease, and also those recently diagnosed.

Education

Damien Peelo, CEO, COPD Support Ireland said the establishment of the patient group will provide a valuable education and support resource for those living with the disease and also a mechanism to advocate on behalf of the COPD community.

Recent research found that over a third of people with COPD said that the lung disease had a detrimental effect on their careers, with almost a fifth indicating that it forced them to retire early.

The vast majority of those surveyed were not familiar with its symptoms. Research also found that the main risk factor for it is smoking, which causes 85-90 per cent of COPD deaths.

Read: Smoking related diseases in women reaching ‘epic proportions’>

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