Almost 1 in 3 Australians has a lung disease. Although it is responsible for 1 in 7 deaths, people are complacent or unaware of the signs and symptoms, leading to delayed diagnosis and high mortality rates. This May, to mark Lung Health Awareness Month, Lung Foundation Australia is urging all Australians to know the symptoms and make their lung health a priority.
Most of us never stop to think about our breathing, it’s just something we do. Research shows that almost half of all Australians rarely or never think about their lung health.[i] Despite this, almost two-thirds of Australians reported that they have experienced at least one lung related health issue.i
“Symptoms of lung disease tend to creep up slowly and people often put the symptoms down to aging or lack of fitness,” Respiratory Physician and Lung Foundation Australia Chair, Professor Christine Jenkins said.
“This leads many people to adjust their daily activities to accommodate or reduce their symptoms rather than to seek help. If you’re experiencing symptoms such as a new, persistent or changed cough, chest tightness or wheeze, or fatigue, it’s important you make an appointment with your doctor.”
Lung disease is any problem in the lungs that prevents them from working properly – this may be a disease of the airways, lung tissue or lung circulation. There are over 30 types of lung disease, ranging from asthma and influenza to occupational lung disease and lung cancer. Lung disease accounts for 10% of the country’s total health burden.ii
“Lung disease doesn’t discriminate. It affects men, women, children, smokers, ex-smokers and never smokers. Getting an early diagnosis is critical to improving outcomes and saving lives,” Lung Foundation Australia CEO, Mark Brooke said.
“It’s time Australians started thinking about their lung health in the same way they would their heart, skin and breast health. Most of us know the signs of a stroke or heart disease and we know the importance of self-checks for our breast and prostate health.
“Early diagnosis is so important to improve treatment options and outcomes. Take some time this month to understand the symptoms of lung disease and encourage your loved ones to do the same – you just might save a life.”
Don’t guess this
winter – know the symptoms, plan a doctor’s visit and act today. Take two
minutes to check in with your lungs at KnowPlanAct.lungfoundation.com.au.
[i] Galaxy Research Omnibus, January 2014 (wave 1)
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