COPD Awareness Month 2018
It's that time of year when we support the COPD Learn More Breathe Better® program . We aim to raise awareness of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and encourage those around us to do so too.
COPD describes a group of lung conditions that affect the airways, making it difficult to breathe. Smoking is often said to be the most common cause, but occupations where workers are exposed to harmful dust, fumes and chemicals are also a significant cause.
The construction industry poses serious risks if the correct protective equipment is not used when carrying out certain high-risk tasks such as cutting, grinding, tunnelling, demolition and sanding.
COPD is the 4th leading cause of death throughout the world.
Whilst statistics show that COPD kills only marginally less people than that of the UK's biggest cancer killer – lung cancer – there is far less awareness of COPD and its devastating effects.
It is estimated that 2 million people in the UK have COPD but are currently undiagnosed.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a slow, silent killer. It creeps up gradually and, for that reason, many people do not even realise they have the disease. They think their symptoms are due to the aging process or diminishing fitness, when in reality they are getting progressively worse through a lack of treatment.
COPD Awareness Month aims to increase the general understanding of COPD symptoms and encourage those with persistent shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing, to seek medical advice.
If you work in the construction industry on sites where the prevalence of dusts and fumes is high, it's vital that you are using effective protective equipment to reduce harmful exposures to dust, fumes and gases.
Try this breath test from the British Lung Foundation if you're concerned.
The sooner a diagnosis is made, the sooner treatment can begin and quality of life be improved.