Why is Lung Health Week so Important?

May 20, 2014 Alpha1 Admin Comments Off

1 in 7 people in Ireland have an undiagnosed lung condition and Ireland has the third highest death rate from lung disease in Europe, causing 1 in 5 deaths. Therefore, it is vital that people know how to maximise their lung health by taking simple steps, including regular exercise and avoidance of environmental exposures that damage the lung.

This was the message from the Irish Lung Health Alliance at the launch of a campaign to promote lung health in Ireland through prevention and early diagnosis. The campaign comes on the back of a European Report on lung health, which found that Ireland has one of the highest death rates from lung disease in Western Europe1 and is marked by a particularly high prevalence of diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, and Alpha-1 as well as high hospital admission rates for COPD and respiratory infection and high death rates for interstitial lung disease, COPD and pneumonia2. Ireland also has the lowest number of adult and trainee respiratory physicians at 1.3 per 100,000 while the mean for Europe is 4.4 per 100,0003.  In addition, recent research carried out by the Irish Lung Health Alliance adds further to this picture by showing that 1 in 7 people have an undiagnosed lung condition.

“Clearly the state of Ireland’s lung health leaves much room for improvement,” said Dr. Edward McKone, Respiratory Consultant and President of the Irish Thoracic Society.  “Our high prevalence, death and hospital admission rates, coupled with high levels of undiagnosed lung disease can be attributed to a number of factors, but awareness of how to prevent and manage lung disease and identify early warning signs is key.”  

With this in mind the Irish Lung Health Alliance is hosting a series of public information lectures forming Lung Health Week in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Sligo beginning on Tuesday, 5th November 2013. The information events will highlight the importance of prevention and early diagnosis and the significant role that exercise can play in maintaining lung health. Olympic Gold medallist, Dr. Ronnie Delany is Ambassador for the campaign, which is also supported by fellow Olympic athlete Paul Hession. Although lectures are free booking is essential to avoid disappointment. To book your place please register online at www.lunghealth.ie.  The event in the Mansion House will also be available by live webcast from the website.

“We tend to associate exercise with cardiac health, losing weight or preventing diabetes but exercise is also very important for the lungs whether you are healthy or have a lung condition.  We would encourage the public to attend our information events to learn more about their lungs and the simple steps they can take to maintain lung health,” added Dr. McKone.

Promoting the benefits of sport for your lung health, Dr. Ronnie Delany, ambassador to the campaign, said “Keeping active whether walking, running or simply working in the garden can contribute greatly to our general well being and is particularly beneficial to the lungs. As an athlete I have a great appreciation of the vital role of the lungs in sporting performance, therefore I am delighted to support this campaign to encourage people to look after their lung health through exercise and other simple steps.”

The Irish Lung Health Alliance comprises the Alpha One Foundation, the Irish Thoracic Society, Cystic Fibrosis Ireland, the Asthma Society of Ireland, the Irish Sleep Apnoea Trust, COPD Support Ireland, Irish Sarcoidosis Network, Irish Lung Fibrosis Association, Pulmonary Hypertension Ireland, the Irish Cancer Society and ASH Ireland. This campaign is supported by Boehringer Ingelheim Ireland through an unrestricted grant.

The Public Information Lectures will take place at:

•    Dublin – Tuesday, 5th November (6.30pm to 8pm) – The Mansion House, Dublin. A live webcast of this event will be available on www.lunghealth.ie

•    Cork – Tuesday, 5th November (6.30pm to 8pm) – Clarion Hotel, Cork

•    Sligo – Tuesday, 5th November (6.30pm to 8pm) – Clarion Hotel, Sligo

•    Galway – Thursday, 7th November (6.30pm to 8pm) – Croi House, Galway

•    Limerick – Monday, 11th November (6.30pm to 8pm) – Clarion Hotel, Limerick