Love Your Lungs Week
Join us for the UK's lung health awareness week from 22nd – 28th June!
Lung disease affects 1 in 5 people in the UK. This means you probably know someone who is affected by a lung condition. The Love Your Lungs campaign is designed to help raise awareness of different lung conditions and how to seek advice.
Each year we take in millions of breaths. In each breath, the lungs take in oxygen from the air to provide it to the organs in the body. As we breathe out our bodies remove carbon dioxide, a waste gas the human body does not need.
All functions of the lungs happen without the mind consciously thinking about it and so when lungs are doing their job well, it's easy to take healthy lungs for granted. Often people don't think about their lung health until it becomes a problem.
What is lung disease and what causes it?
Lung disease refers to a wide range of conditions that affect the lungs. Examples which are widely known by the public are asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and at this present time the Coronavirus (COVID-19). There are many other lung conditions which are less widely known such as Pulmonary fibrosis and Bronchiectasis. You can learn more about different lung diseases from the British Lung foundation. https://www.blf.org.uk/
Breathlessness, a persistent cough or excessive sputum are indicators that you should discuss your lung health with your GP or Practice nurse. You may want to take a short online breath test to help you decide. But if you have concerns your GP will be able to discuss these with you.
Take a breath test!
The BLF has developed an online breath test (based on Medical Research Council breathlessness scale) that consists of a short series of simple questions (takes approx. 5 minutes) which can help people decide whether they should see their GP about their breathlessness.
Many people have taken action as a result of this test.
It's easy to complete and can be accessed http://www.blf.org.uk/breathtest
Tips to keep your lungs healthy:
- Stop Smoking
- Stay Hydrated
- Prevent Infections
- Undertake regular exercise
- Learn more about your own lung condition
- Ensure you are taking your medications as prescribed
- Ensure you know the correct way to take any inhalers prescribed
- Follow government guidelines on social distancing and hand washing
Patients with a respiratory condition should be encouraged to enrol on a course of pulmonary rehabilitation. This consists of graded exercise and education around their condition to increase physical fitness and condition management.
Patients can attend a course of Pulmonary Rehabilitation annually and are encouraged to attend within four weeks of a hospital admission. Due to the current Covid-19 Pandemic the way we provide Pulmonary Rehabilitation has changed, as classes are currently unable to go ahead we are offering alternatives such as telephone or virtual appointments as well as using a new online or a paper manual based Pulmonary Rehabilitation. You can access a course of Pulmonary Rehabilitation by contacting your G.P. or Practice nurse who can refer you to your local service.
If you have a medical condition and are planning on starting a new programme of exercise please consult your GP or practice nurse or discuss with your local respiratory team if you are already known to them.
Staying home Stay Connected
Living with a lung condition can be hard. Coronavirus and lockdown have made things even harder. But you're not alone, we can all stay connected this Love Your Lungs Week.
Many people with long term lung conditions may currently be shielding due to the coronavirus. This does not mean you have to cope alone, you can stay connected via Health unlocked is an online community where you can chat to other people with lung conditions. It can offer you the virtual support you may need right now. Access it here: https://healthunlocked.com/blf
To keep you in touch locally we also have a North Cumbria Facebook page where information and advice is regularly shared and updated from local Respiratory teams. https://m.facebook.com/NorthCumbriaRespiratory/