Lung disease now causes one-in-five deaths as more testing demanded
ONE in five deaths in Ireland is cause by lung disease, the third highest rate in Western Europe.
And despite as many as one in seven Irish people having an undiagnosed lung condition, the numbers getting tested remain low, a new study has revealed.
The research was conducted on behalf of the Irish Lung Health Alliance, a coalition of 16 leading Irish charities, to mark Ireland's first-ever National Lung Health Awareness Week, in an initiative taking place from next Monday.
Less than one in five (18pc) have had their lungs tested over the past five years, and significant numbers of people were unable to identify the symptoms of lung disease when asked, according to the new nationwide survey by Ipsos MRBI.
Its survey showed that 49pc of people nationwide have experienced lung disease, either personally or through a member of their family.
A national roadshow will get underway next week offering free lung testing alongside a science education exhibition to highlight the importance of healthy lungs for life.
The interactive health and well-being exhibition - BodyWorks on Tour in partnership with Glasgow Science Centre - will visit Dublin, Cork, Galway and Portlaoise.
The estimated one in five deaths in Ireland caused by a range of lung diseases is more than the numbers killed by heart disease.
Lung disease incorporates conditions such as asthma, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis, sleep apnoea, lung fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, bronchitis or emphysema.
It is the most common reason to visit a GP and the third most common reason for acute hospital admission. Previous research undertaken by the Irish Lung Health Alliance that showed one in seven Irish people had an undiagnosed lung condition.
Professor Anthony O'Regan, consultant respiratory physician, said it is apparent from the results of this research that there is still substantial work to be done.
"We need to make much more significant strides in improving lung disease prevention," he said.
Dublin GAA senior footballer Dean Rock (pictured left) is supporting the campaign.
"To be at the top of your game when it comes to playing football at a senior level, you've got to be in peak physical condition," he said.
"But it's not just important for sport. To be in good shape for life, you've got to look after your body," Rock added.
"Visit the roadshows if you can, ask your doctor to examine your lung health or visit lunghealth.ie if you want to find out more information.
"Above all, take action - don't let this week pass you by without making a commitment to do better for yourself," he said.