As the New Year begins and resolutions to start living more healthily are made, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) sufferers in Belfast are reminded that NOW is a good time to stop smoking.
According to Dr Terry Maguire, Belfast Local Commissioning Group Chair, “Many COPD sufferers think it’s too late to do anything as they have already contracted the illness but they can easily help themselves and alleviate their symptoms, just by giving up smoking.”
Over 9000 people have been diagnosed with COPD in Belfast, making it the region with the largest number of COPD sufferers in Northern Ireland. The trend for the entire region however is on the rise with over 5000 new sufferers being diagnosed in the last five years.
“The rapid increase in COPD diagnosis will continue to place pressure on the health service but this is an illness which can be easily managed with the right care and the willingness of sufferers to take positive action to manage their own health,” added Dr Maguire.
Dr Dermot Maguire, GP and chair of the North Belfast Integrated Care Partnership said, “Although there is no cure for COPD, progression of this condition can be greatly slowed and improvement in symptoms gained by stopping smoking. Specialised exercise known as pulmonary rehabilitation can also greatly improve outcomes for patients”.”
For those who do want to quit, there is a range of information available for both online and in person. The Public Health Agency’s ‘Want 2 Stop’ website has an online chat service or you can order a ‘Quit Kit’ free of charge.
There are over 600 free stop smoking services across Northern Ireland in pharmacies; GP surgeries; hospitals; community centres and workplaces.