A Forfar man is encouraging people to take their lung health seriously today (Wednesday) as health authorities and patients mark World COPD Day which.
Former policeman Ian Baxter is supporting the British Lung Foundation (BLF) campaign by sharing the challenges he faces living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
The charity has revealed that millions of people across the UK have COPD but are completely unaware of the condition.
COPD describes a number of conditions including emphysema and chronic bronchitis and 115,000 people are diagnosed with COPD annually
Ian said: “If somebody is breathless and particularly if they smoke or if they have worked in the building trade, I’d tell them not to be afraid to go and find out the condition of their lungs.
“I was fairly low in mood and quite depressed because of my condition - I wasn’t able to do the things I wanted to do or the things I had done in the past. But going to pulmonary rehab was the best thing that ever happened to me and it really lifted my spirits and I realised that I wasn’t the only one that had this condition and that there was a life to be had with COPD.”
The BLF is encouraging anyone who gets out of breath doing everyday tasks, such as walking up stairs, to take their lung health seriously and a simple online breath test has been set up on its website at www.blf.org.uk/breathtest
It wants people to take the test and if advised to, seek advice from their GP. It is also calling on the Scottish Government to set up a dedicated respiratory taskforce to develop a Lung Improvement Plan for Scotland.
Irene Johnstone, head of BLF Scotland, said: “COPD is the only major cause of death in Scotland which is still rising. It isn’t just a smokers’ disease. It usually develops because of long-term damage to 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.”
BLF also provides advice through its helpline on 03000 030 555.