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Why it's important to listen to your lungs

Noel is a doctor in London. He explains why it’s so important to listen to your lungs.

Dr Noel Baxter breath test story

10% of adults and 30% of older people get breathless every day. It’s one of the most common symptoms of a long-term health problem. Of all the people who go  to see their GP about breathlessness, 68% of cases are usually down to an underlying lung or heart problem.  

Asthma + Lung UK’s online breath test helps people understand if they should see a doctor by asking 10 quick questions. It’s based on the MRC breathlessness scale, which GPs use when diagnosing someone with a lung condition. 

You will know more about your symptoms

People who come to see me as their GP, after doing the breath test will know more about their symptoms. They’ll be able to ask the right questions. That makes their appointment much more productive

The breath test also helps people realise just how breathless they really are. If the breath test tells you that you have mild breathlessness, you can even start to change that instantly. You might start with stopping smoking, being more physically active and eating healthier.

A lot of people don’t actually know that it’s OK to get active and do exercise even when they have a problem that cause them to be breathless. That’s so important.

Often there's a lightbulb moment

As a GP, I encourage people to compare their breathing now to how they used to breathe. Often, there’s a lightbulb moment and they realise that things have caught up on them.

People may not remember when it started. Breathlessness comes on gradually, so people slowly do less and less activity to avoid feeling more breathless. This leads to a downward spiral as people lose their fitness and strength, often realising too late.

But the breath test can help. If people are more aware of the problem, and come forward and talk about it, they’ll get the help they need earlier. That’s how the breath test changes lives for the better. 

Take the breath test today

We need you to get the word out. Lung disease affects 1 in 5 people in the UK. That means you probably know someone whose life could be changed by taking our breath test. By sharing it, you can make a big difference.

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10 July 2017