Marty Morrissey reveals his most breathtaking moments
- to highlight the plight of 110,000 COPD sufferers in Ireland who experience chronic breathlessness -
Marty Morrissey, one of Ireland’s best known sport’s commentators 2010, has helped launch a new awareness campaign “COPD: It’s Breathtaking” to highlight the number of people suffering from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) in Ireland. In this country, it is estimated that 110,000 people suffer from COPD, however it is thought that the real number could be higher. Many of these sufferers experience a very poor quality of life, finding they cannot catch their breath or undertake daily activities such as getting dressed, climbing the stairs or doing the weekly shop.
COPD is now becoming more prevalent due to continued exposure to risk factors (like smoking) and an increased life expectancy and together with pneumonia takes up 143,771 hospital bed days annually. It also accounts for over one-fifth of respiratory deaths. COPD: It’s Breathtaking is a campaign being run to highlight awareness of the disease and to encourage people suffering from symptoms to seek early diagnosis. The campaign is being run in conjunction with the Irish Thoracic Society and is supported by Pfizer Healthcare Ireland and Boehringer Ingelheim Ireland Ltd.
Symptoms of COPD, which are explained on the website www.itsbreathtaking,ie, include shortness of breath, cough, wheezing and increased phlegm. COPD mainly affects those over 40 years of age and although it is a major cause of death and disability throughout the world, it is preventable and early diagnosis and treatment can improve quality of life. A lung function test using a spirometer can assist in the diagnosis of COPD.
The disease, predominantly caused by smoking and exposure to noxius particles or gases, causes the lungs' airways to become blocked, making it difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs and includes two major respiratory disorders - chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Commenting on the campaign, Dr Terry O’Connor, Respiratory Physician, Mercy University Hospital, Cork, and president of the Irish Thoracic Society, commented, “We must not lose the battle against COPD which is one of the most serious respiratory diseases affecting the Irish general public. Creating awareness of this disease is vital if we are to control the numbers of people whose lives are very adversely affected by the disease and who are dying annually from it. I am extremely concerned by the numbers of people who remain undiagnosed in this country and who are unable to perform life’s basic daily activities such as walking across the road or climbing the stairs.”
People are encouraged to record what they believe is Ireland’s most breathtaking moment in an effort to highlight the disease. Votes will be recorded on the website, www.itsbreathtaking.ie.
Commenting on his involvement in the initiative, Marty Morrissey, concluded “As an avid sports follower and commentator, I have had the privilege of being present at many breath-taking moments. Whether it is the armchair sports fan rising from their seat in anticipation of a goal, a corner forward’s sharp intake of breath as the ball tips over the bar or the jubilation of the winning captain’s speech over the cheers of his team-mates, being able to enjoy those breathtaking moments is something we should all be able to do. However, for those suffering from COPD, every breath is an effort because of the respiratory difficulties associated with the disease. However, there is no reason why people should suffer in silence as medical intervention can have an extremely positive impact on daily life for COPD sufferers.”
The “COPD: It’s Breathtaking” campaign includes the dedicated patient and healthcare professional website www.itsbreathtaking.ie, an infomercial to be carried across national and regional radio, and patient leaflets to be carried in GPs’ surgeries and pharmacies throughout the country.
For more information on COPD visit www.itsbreathtaking.ie.
Published: 27th October 2010.