A new campaign is being launched to raise awareness about COPD, the respiratory disease which killed nearly 100 people in Mayo last year.
COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is the name for a collection of lung diseases, including conditions such as bronchitis and emphysema.
COPD results in shortness of breath, tiredness, and reduced exercise ability because the airways in the lungs are obstructed.
It is one of the most common respiratory diseases in Ireland and usually affects people over the age of 35.
The new awareness campaign, Save Your Breath, is encouraging people to know the symptoms of COPD and, if they think they may be affected, to seek help because early diagnosis can make a big difference and lead to a much better quality of life for the sufferer.
The campaign will see a roadshow visit Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar on Wednesday November 19 from 11am to 3pm.
The roadshow will be offering information, advice, and free COPD screening to people over 35 years who are experiencing symptoms of persistent coughing, breathlessness, or frequent chest infections.
A respiratory nurse will also be on hand to answer any specific queries that members of the public may have.
The initiative coincides with World COPD Day on November 19, and is supported by Boehringer Ingelheim, GSK, Menarini, and Novartis.
Connie Blake is a member of the Mayo COPD Support Group.
She said COPD is a progressive illness and can be life-threatening.
“Depending on its severity, it can affect people in so many ways in their daily lives, and for some can mean significant difficulty with simple physical activities such as crossing a room, climbing stairs, or carrying out household chores,” she said.
“This campaign is about encouraging people to, quite literally, save their breath, and take action now to protect their future health and quality of life.
“I would urge people to visit our COPD information booth in the foyer of Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar to learn about COPD and to answer any questions that they may have.”
For more information on the Save Your Breath COPD awareness campaign, visit www.copd.ie