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‘Missing millions’ with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

19 November 2008 - 8:40am

Physiotherapists will be marking World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Day today with events throughout the UK.

An estimated 3.7 million people in Britain have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), yet only 900,000 are diagnosed with the disease, says the British Lung Foundation.

This leaves approximately 2.8 million unaware they have a disease which, if left untreated, could severely restrict their lives and eventually kill them.

Early diagnosis 'vital'

'Early diagnosis of COPD is vital as it allows patients to take steps to slow down the progression of the disease, and live healthy lives for longer and avoid expensive emergency care,' said a BLF spokeswoman.

'However, not enough patients are diagnosed early enough.'

World COPD Day is organised by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease to improve awareness and care of COPD around the world.

Call for retesting

The BLF also called for everyone over 35 with asthma or COPD to be retested after a survey of 776 UK GPs, carried out for the charity, showed that most had difficulty differentiating between the two diseases.

The government in England is due to publish a national strategy for COPD next year.

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