Is your “smoker’s” cough a sign of chronic disease?

Smokers in Waltham Forest are being urged to seek help to give up for good, as figures show that respiratory disease is the third-highest cause of death in the borough. 

Thousands of people in Waltham Forest have already been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – a serious respiratory condition. However, many more may be living with COPD without knowing it, according to the British Lung Foundation (BLF). 

This affects people’s quality of life and make it difficult for them to do even simple, everyday tasks. 

Data published by the charity shows that people living in Waltham Forest are more likely to be admitted to hospital – and more likely to die from COPD – than in many other parts of London. 

Ahead of World COPD Day (Wednesday 15 November), doctors are urging smokers to seek help to quit by logging on towww.everyonehealth.co.uk/waltham-forest-council or by calling 0333 005 0095. 

A “smoker’s” cough is one of the early signs of COPD – and GPs in the borough say stopping smoking now could help reduce the risk of developing COPD and other respiratory diseases in future. 

Dr Ravi Gupta, a local GP and clinical director for prescribing at NHS Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Many of our residents may be living with COPD without knowing it. They’re struggling with their symptoms and with a lower quality of life, and their condition is progressing quickly because they’re not receiving treatment. 

“We know that current and ex-smokers are at most at risk of developing COPD, and the most effective way to prevent this is by stopping smoking. 

“This World COPD Day, let’s raise awareness of COPD and help people get the treatment and support they need to live longer, healthier lives.” 

About 1.2 million people nationally are living with diagnosed COPD, making this the condition the second-most common lung disease in the UK after asthma, and this number is growing. 

To support World COPD day, you can take the British Lung Foundation’s online breath test here: https://breathtest.blf.org.uk/. It can help you decide if it’s time to see your GP. 

If you’ve been diagnosed with COPD, the BLF passport will help you get the correct care. It can be found on the BLF website here: https://passport.blf.org.uk/ 

Support groups for Londoners with COPD can be located at: https://www.blf.org.uk/support-for-you/breathe-easy