Why I want my MP to think about lung health

Carol, who lives with COPD, has written to her MP to say why lung health matters to her.

Carol writes to her MP about lung health

Dear MP,

I’m reaching out to you as both my local MP and as someone who can help make things change.

At least 1 person with a lung condition - someone like me - dies every 5 minutes in the UK. The reality is we’re often overlooked, and this has been the case for many years.

To this day, there’s still a public perception that all lung disease is self-inflicted. Stigma surrounds lung disease, and we see little funding going into research and treatments compared to other major diseases.

I’d really like your help to make lung health a priority. You can do this by standing up for clean air and better care for people with a lung condition.

Feeling invisible

When physically you feel like you’re drowning, it’s scary feeling your voice is being drowned out too.

Until you have a lung condition, you don’t realise how important it is to be able to breathe easily. Just as the air I breathe is invisible, I often feel invisible too. When you can’t breathe nothing else really matters. And when physically you feel like you’re drowning, it’s scary feeling your voice is being drowned out too.

From my experience, not much has changed in the last 30 years when it comes to lung health. My grandfather died in his early 50s and my mother aged 63 – both from lung disease. I was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) when I was 54. Luckily, my practice nurse was able to do a spirometry test straight away. So I was diagnosed very quickly and not long after, I was referred to pulmonary rehabilitation (PR). Many of these basic but crucial services aren’t widely available across the UK.

Many basic but crucial respiratory services aren’t widely available across the UK. I want you to help change that.

I’d like you to help me start a conversation about early testing, especially at GP level, and getting referrals to PR as early as possible. PR has taught me so much about self-managing my condition – I don’t understand why it isn’t available for everyone with a lung condition. 

But most importantly, I’d like you to join a conversation about getting everyone to think about their lung health. You don’t have to have smoked to develop a lung condition – it can happen to anyone.

Yours, Carol.

Feeling inspired? Email your MP and ask them to stand up for clean air and better care for people with lung disease. Our website does the hard work for you, just put in your name and postcode and we’ll do the rest.

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30 January 2020