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I’ve seen too many people dismiss their symptoms

John lives with a lung condition. He helped us develop our online breath test.

I’ve had asthma since childhood. And in my 50s, I was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

I’m one of a few people who help review the British Lung Foundation’s health information and website. At one meeting, we were asked to look at the possibility of an online breath test.

First, we discussed the format. We agreed it should be simple, but gather enough basic information so we could give people sound advice about what to do next.

I particularly like the breath test that was developed for that very reason. It asks 10 quick questions to help you decide if getting out of breath is something to worry about.

It’s simple but meaningful for the people who use it. I’ve seen too many people dismiss their symptoms over a long period, then end up with an outcome much more severe than it needed to be.

This is why the breath test is worthwhile. It signposts people for help, but isn’t alarmist. It’s user-friendly.

In my case, I was already diagnosed with a lung condition many years ago. But people who are members of my Breathe Easy support group nearly died because their COPD was not picked up in primary care.

The breath test would probably have avoided these cases by empowering people to have a conversation with their GP and even ask for a referral to a specialist if needed.

The BLF asked me to speak about the breath test in parliament and I really enjoyed it. 

I wasn't sure what to include in my short talk. But once I got going, I felt totally at ease and hope it was useful to get the perspective of someone living with a lung condition. I could have spoken for longer!

I spoke about having seen treatments for lung disease advance over 70 years and how far we have come. I had a great day and was well looked after.

I look forward to seeing the BLF continue doing their sterling work and making people aware of lung disease statistics. Many of the general public don’t understand how huge this problem is.

I hope the BLF continue with the breath test and build on its success.

Take the breath test today 

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7 August 2017