GPs 'should test patients' breathing' as part of NHS health check

GPs should be asked to test patients' breathing as part of the NHS health check after research that links the menopause to lower lung function, respiratory experts have said.

Women who have been through natural menopause are 27% more likely to have reduced lung function than women who are still menstruating, according to research on UK data on 140,000 women.

Earlier menopause was linked to greater reduction in lung function, the research suggested.

British Thoracic Society chair and consultant respiratory physician Dr Lisa Davies said the study 'underlines the need for a simple breathing test to be included in the current NHS health check available to anyone over 40'.

NHS health check

'This will help to detect lung problems early when they are more treatable and also provide the opportunity for health professionals to communicate ways to keep our lungs healthy,' she said.

Research published earlier this year found that health checks had successfully prevented around 2,500 heart attacks and strokes over the five years since the scheme was introduced.

But earlier research has suggested the £450m a year spent on health checks was wasted because they offered minimal improvements over opportunistic case finding by GPs.

Photo: JH Lancy

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