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Press release, 10 June 2013

The European COPD Coalition organised a FREE spirometry test (lung capacity assessment) on 10 June 2013 at the European Commission, Berlaymont building.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a lung and airways disease that is treatable but not curable. It is a deadly chronic disease that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. 

(picture EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer policy, Tonio Borg, taking a spirometry test)

The event was very successful. In 4 hours, no less than 250 people took the test. 

EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, Tonio Borg showed his support to the fight against COPD by taking the lung test himself at the event.

In his statement that followed, he highlighted the need for further disease prevention by inviting people to take the test as well.

“The figures are impressive, millions of citizens suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and from asthma. More than 40 million suffer from COPD alone. This can be prevented. If one has a breathing problem, one should really take a spirometry test. It is so easy, I have done it, so everyone can do it”.

Spirometry tests are easy and quick to undertake, they are part of the diagnosis of respiratory diseases and testing your lung capacity will only take you 10 minutes. 10 minutes that can save much time and quality of life. Spirometry is a simple way to find out if your lungs or airways are obstructed.

10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT COPD

1)                Up to 10 % of Europeans are affected by COPD.
2)                200 000 to 300 000 people in Europe die of COPD every year.
3)                The number of deaths from COPD has increased more than 60 % over the last 20 years.
4)                COPD is likely to become the 3rd leading cause of death in the world by 2030. Now ranking 5th, it is the only major cause of death expected to increase.
5)                COPD affects men and women almost equally.
6)                COPD is a long term, irreversible lung and airways disease; it has no definitive cure.
7)                COPD causes wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and other symptoms which make it hard to move air in and out of the lungs.
8)                COPD is often misdiagnosed and confused with asthma.
9)                Whether a person smokes or not, occupational factors such as intense and prolonged exposure to dust, chemicals, vapours… can result in COPD.
10)           And yet, COPD is quick and easy to diagnose. The earlier it is caught, the easier it is treated.

Tonio Borg’s interview, video and pictures of the event.