COPD prevalence higher than thought

Almost 3.5 million people in the UK are unaware they are at increased risk of COPD, research suggests.

A survey found patients suffered from symptoms of the COPD without being aware they had it

A study from the British Lung Foundation (BLF) estimated 700,000 more people than previously thought may be at risk of the disease.

A survey of 1,000 people in the UK asked patients whether they suffered from symptoms of the condition, including breathlessness, a regular cough, phlegm and wheeze.

The results suggested 22.8% of respondents were at medium risk and 7.4% were at high risk.

Dame Helena Shovelton, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation said early diagnosis was essential to slow progression of the condition and ensure patients do not ‘suffer in silence’.

She said: ‘This is why the BLF is encouraging those with symptoms such as a persistent cough with phlegm, breathlessness or a wheezy chest to take the BLF’s online breath test or to visit their GP for a lung function test.’

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