The British Lung Foundation has published a report summarising the results of a 3 year epidemiological study it funded into respiratory disease in the UK.
The Battle for Breath provides the most comprehensive overview of respiratory disease since the BTS’s Burden of Lung Disease 10 years ago. Included are data on mortality, incidence, prevalence and hospital admissions across all major respiratory conditions, with international comparisons and breakdowns by region, age, gender and levels of social deprivation.
Unsurprisingly the picture is a worrying one. Many of the findings are disappointingly familiar, but others provide important insights into the extent of lung disease across the UK.
Perhaps most telling is that the mortality from respiratory disease has not changed in ten years. In comparison, concerted action on cardiovascular disease saw mortality fall by 15% between 2008 and 2012.
Evidence also suggests that prevalence of several lung conditions is underestimated in official figures. Over 40% more people are living with COPD than reported by the Department of Health. IPF is more than twice as common as stated by NICE.
The report makes a series of recommendations, including: the establishment of a Strategic Clinical Network in England; improved data recording, collection and analysis; increased funding for research; and a focus on awareness, screening and prevention. The report also calls for the establishment of Taskforces in England and Scotland to produce new five year strategies. The BLF will be working with BTS and other respiratory organisations to highlight this neglect and call for the recommendations outlined in the report.
Dr. Penny Woods, Chief Executive, British Lung Foundation