Wed 15 Nov 2023

World COPD Day 2023 - What is COPD?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, describes a group of lung conditions that cause breathing difficulties.

Each year, the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) organises a day of international awareness for COPD. World COPD Day is being recognised on 15 November this year.  The aim of World COPD Day is to share knowledge and raise awareness of the condition, and to ensure everyone living with COPD has access to the care and information they need.

What is COPD?

The term COPD is used to describe a group of lung conditions that impact on an individual's ability to breathe. COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. COPD mainly affects people from middle-age.  Whilst it is most commonly caused by smoking, it can also be caused by long-term exposure to dangerous fumes or dust particles. In some rare cases, it is the result of a genetic problem which leaves the lungs vulnerable to damage.

The most prevalent conditions under the COPD umbrella are emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The two conditions usually occur together and can vary in severity in each individual. Chronic bronchitis is an inflammation in the lining of the bronchial tubes in the lungs. The bronchial tubes carry air to and from the air sacs of the lungs. The inflammation here causes chronic coughing (often referred to as smoker's cough) as well as wheezing and discomfort. Emphysema affects the delicate inner wall of the lung air sacs, known as alveoli. The damage causes the alveoli to rupture, which leads to shortness of breath. Those who suffer from COPD are often more prone to chest infections, and can suffer from fatigue as well as unintended weight loss, or swelling of their feet and legs. Without treatment, the symptoms will get progressively worse.

It is estimated by the NHS that smoking is responsible for around nine out of every ten cases of COPD. The leading cause for other sufferers is occupational exposure to fumes and chemicals. The Health & Safety Executive provides helpful information about the occupations that have been found to be linked to increased risk of getting COPD, as well as a list of the substances that can cause COPD after prolonged exposure. Working without appropriate personal protective equipment can leave you exposed to these substances and can increase the likelihood of developing COPD.

Whilst the damage caused to the lungs by COPD is permanent, treatment can assist in slowing down the progression of the condition. In many cases inhalers, medication, and a special exercise programme can help to abate the symptoms. In more severe cases surgery or a lung transplant may be required.

World COPD Day 2023

The first World COPD Day was held in 2002. World COPD Day is recognised in over fifty countries around the globe and is crucial in spreading awareness of the condition. The theme for this year's World COPD Day is "Breathing is Life - Act Earlier". The theme, which is chosen by GOLD, aims to highlight the importance of early lung health, early diagnosis, and early interventions. GOLD believe that maintaining lung health is an crucial part of an individual's future health.

The British Lung Foundation estimate that around 1.2million people are living with COPD in the UK, with around 115,000 people being diagnosed each year. The BLF have an online Breath Test which allows you to check your lung health.

Case Study

At Morton Fraser MacRoberts, we have successfully recovered compensation for many individuals whose health has been impacted due to unsafe working conditions.  In a number of cases, employers had failed in their duty to provide personal protective equipment to their employee to protect them from dangers in their working environment.  Whilst some activities carry obvious risks, such as working with heavy machinery, working with dangerous fumes or dust particles can be just as dangerous, particularly when this work takes place over long periods.  Morton Fraser MacRoberts' Personal Injury Team has extensive experience in pursuing all types of claims and we can provide you with advice on who is liable to pay compensation once we have discussed the facts and circumstances of your claim.

At Morton Fraser MacRoberts, we will ensure you receive the appropriate amount of compensation for your injury. Our experienced Personal Injury team will take the time to assess your claim and help you get the compensation you are entitled to. Contact us today on 0131 247 1000 or through our personal injury compensation enquiry form.

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