LONDON, June 27, 2012 /CNW/ - New data released by the Forum of
International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) to coincide with World
Spirometry Day today has revealed a lack of understanding and concern
among the public about the world's biggest killer - lung disease, which now claims the lives of almost 4 million people a
Despite the high incidence of lung disease, research conducted by YouGov
across four continents revealed that people are more worried about
cancer, heart disease and stroke. This lack of concern is even more striking as data shows that while
the other major diseases have been decreasing as a cause of death in
the last three decades, death due to COPD has doubled in the same
As well as underestimating the impact of lung disease, the public poll
reveals a lack of understanding about how to manage it. Despite the
fact that simple lung tests like spirometry can help detect conditions
such as COPD and asthma before the onset of debilitating symptoms, the
survey revealed that the majority, 57%, of respondents have never had
their lungs tested.
The research also revealed that 70% thought that those with lung disease
were unable to undertake even moderate exercise like swimming. However,
in reality, physical activity can help to manage and improve the
symptoms of lung disease such as breathlessness, even in the most
As the world gears up to the Olympics, FIRS is using the data to urge
people to get their lungs tested and to get active to improve their
lung health. On World Spirometry Day, and throughout the build up to
the Olympics, healthcare professionals will be taking to the streets
across the globe to run public lung testing events to raise awareness
of spirometry testing. The test, which usually takes less than 10
minutes, is the most effective way of testing lung health.
The Chair of FIRS and President of the European Respiratory Society
(ERS), Klaus Rabe, said:
"Chronic lung disease is a major health issue but - as the FIRS poll
shows - its burden continues to be underestimated. There is widespread
ignorance not only around the seriousness of lung disease but about
what can be done to prevent it. As countries across the world celebrate
the achievements of the world's best athletes - we feel the time is
right to focus on how we can all improve our lung health.
Supporters include Norwegian Olympic rower, Olaf Tufte, who has won two
gold and one silver medal, despite suffering from severe allergic
"I am determined not to let my asthma limit me or restrict my ambitions.
Instead, I see it as one challenge among many that I need to master in
order to come top in my sport. People with lung conditions can lead
healthy, active lives - if they take steps to ensure their condition is
identified early enough and treated well."
For information about World Spirometry Day, and testing events taking
place in your area or across Europe, please visit: http://www.wsd2012.european-lung-foundation.org
World Health Organization, Top Ten Causes of Death. Fact Sheet no. 310.
Last accessed on 18.04.12 at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310/en/index.html. When all lung diseases (Lower respiratory infections, lung cancer,
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and tuberculosis) are
combined, lung diseases are the leading cause of death.
NCD Alliance, Chronic Respiratory Diseases, last accessed on 07.03.12
The most feared diseases (in order) are: Cancer (38%), Heart Disease
(19%), and Stroke (9%). Source YouGov Survey, May 2012
European Lung Foundation, Spirometry Factsheet, http://www.european-lung-foundation.org/11715-spirometry.htm
SOURCE Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS)
For further information:
Rakhee Shah on +44-20-7815-3900 or Rakhee.firstname.lastname@example.org