COPD – Ireland’s Fourth Biggest Killer


“Save Your Breath” Awareness Campaign Urges People to Know the “ABC” of COPD – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – and Safeguard Your Health 

It’s the fourth most common cause of death in Ireland after lung cancer, heart disease and stroke. Yet, incredibly, many people with the disease have absolutely no idea that they have it and do not even know what it is. An estimated 380,000 people are thought to have the condition, with numbers alarmingly on the rise. Ireland has amongst the highest rates of death from COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, in Europe, with one person dying every five hours. Ireland also has the highest rate of avoidable hospitalisations for COPD in OECD countries.

To coincide with World COPD Day which took place last month COPD Support Ireland is undertaking a “Save Your Breath” awareness campaign, sponsored by A. Menarini, Boehringer Ingelheim, GSK and Novartis, to encourage people to know the “ABC” of COPD.

Saving Your Breath: Remember the “ABC” of COPD

1.      Avoid the risks—don’t smoke and avoid environmental toxins, fumes and dust

2.      Be aware of the symptoms—watch out for persistent cough with phlegm, chest infections that won’t go away and shortness of breath

3.      Consult your GP—ask for a spirometry breathing test, particularly if you are over 35 years and are a current or former smoker, or have a family history of lung conditions

COPD Support Ireland will be undertaking a COPD health check-in tour from November 16 to 22 in various locations nationwide. People worried that they may be at risk of COPD, particularly those over 35 years who have persistent breathlessness, coughing with phlegm and chest infections, or who are current or former smokers, or who have a family history of the disease, are urged to avail of a free COPD spirometry breathing test. People previously diagnosed with COPD are encouraged to come along too to take advantage of inhaler reviews, breathing technique support, and general health and well-being advice. Guidance on nutrition will also be provided, including a free nutrition information booklet, as good nutritional care helps to improve outcomes for people with COPD.

People can also go online at where they can complete on online COPD interactive health check-in and download a handy COPD pocket guide.

Damien Peelo, Executive Director, COPD Support Ireland, is urging people to take the “Save Your Breath” campaign message seriously.
“In years gone past, people were perhaps unaware of the harmful effects of smoking or environmental toxins. Now, we can be under no illusions. Smoking is the single biggest cause of COPD and we see every day the devastating effects of COPD on people’s lives. Basic activities such as crossing a room or climbing a stairs can be difficult to do, and it can mean a life of nebulisers, inhalers and various medications.

“The problem with COPD is that it can creep up on you. People put symptoms of persistent cough, chest infections and breathlessness down to getting older or something to be expected from smoking. I would strongly urge people not to get caught out and to remember the “ABC” of COPD—Avoid the risks, Be aware of the symptoms and Consult your GP for a simple and painless spirometry test. That way, if you are diagnosed with COPD, you can start to get treated straightaway and potentially avoid some of the more serious effects of the disease.”

For details of the “Save Your Breath” nationwide awareness tour and for ongoing updates on the campaign, visit People can also follow the campaign on Twitter @COPDSupportIre and on Facebook at; the campaign hashtag is #saveyourbreath



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Senior Times also publishes Senior Times magazine and are organisers of the 50 Plus Expo’s in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Killarney.

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