Lung disease COPD killing 80 people a year in Hartlepool

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More than 80 people a year in Hartlepool are dying from a chronic disease linked to smoking.

And today, a message went out to all the town’s smokers to consider quitting while they can still make a difference to their health.

Stopping smoking won’t reverse damage already sustained by COPD, but it will halt the rapid deterioration in lung function. Quitting smoking will not only improve your health, it will also improve your finances and your general self-esteem

Louise Wallace, Hartlepool’s Director of Public Health

Campaign group Fresh and Public Health England (PHE) joined forces to highlight how debilitating serious lung diseases are - and for which smoking is the biggest preventable risk factor.

Latest GP figures show 75,370 people were diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in the North East in 2014-15. In Hartlepool, 167 people died from COPD between 2012 and 2014.

COPD is the umbrella term for serious lung conditions that include chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

People with it have difficulties breathing, mainly because of the narrowing of their airways and destruction of lung tissue. Typical symptoms include breathlessness when active, a persistent cough and frequent chest infections.

Many can’t take part in everyday activities such as climbing stairs, housework or gardening; and many can’t take a holiday because of their disease.

Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: “COPD may not be well known but it can be a serious and severely debilitating disease, dramatically affecting people’s lives and leading to years of suffering.”

Louise Wallace, Hartlepool’s director of public health, said: “Stopping smoking won’t reverse damage already sustained by COPD, but it will halt the rapid deterioration in lung function.

“Quitting smoking will not only improve your health, it will also improve your finances and your general self-esteem.

“Rates of smoking continue to decline, but sadly it still kills one in five of all UK adults aged 35 and over – including nearly 210 each year in Hartlepool. The positive news is that you can break free of smoking and if you want to quit, you’re up to four times as likely to succeed with support. Pop into your local pharmacy, ask at your GP, or call Stockton and Hartlepool NHS Stop Smoking Service on (01642) 383819.”