Respiratory disease is serious, and varied. In England, 1 in 3 deaths is described as premature, that is death occurs before the age of 75 years. Of these premature deaths, three quarters are a result of cancer, heart disease, stroke, liver disease or respiratory disease, with respiratory disease accounting for 95 of this. Read the Living Well for Longer PDF document on the Gov.uk website.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
The Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF)( Public Health England) shows that 21.8 percent of people in England, according to GP records, have COPD, which is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a name given for a collection of chronic lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive airways disease, which are usually associated with people who smoke – the more the individual smokes, and the longer they have been a smoker, the more the increase in likelihood of developing COPD. These people will have consistent difficulty in breathing, persistent cough with phlegm, and be prone to frequent chest infections.
It arises due to inflammation within the lungs resulting in permanent damage and less functional capacity in the lungs. Some rare cases of COPD are caused by fumes, air pollution, genetic disorders or dust, however these are unusual. Although symptoms may be apparent, the condition may be dismissed as a 'smoker’s cough', but seeking treatment may lead to a slowing down of deterioration of the lungs condition. The most effective interposition is to stop smoking. More information is available on the British Lung Foundation website.
The UK has amongst the highest rates of asthma in the world, and its treatment and care costs the NHS approximately £1bn annually. 6 percent of people in England are recorded as having asthma, (approximately 1 in 11 children and 1 in 12 adults have asthma) a condition which may have a genetic cause, be caused by air pollution, chlorine in swimming pools, or modern hygiene standards. Asthma can be exacerbated by dust, cold air and smoke. It is most likely to occur in those with a family history of the condition. Visit the Asthma website for more details.
The actual prevalence of these conditions is likely to be much higher and they often remain undiagnosed particularly in the early stages of the conditions.