Improving the Quality of Life for Lung Disease Sufferers; 'PATIENT EDUCATION IS OF PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE'
Byline: JULIA MCWATT
THE number of patients with a respiratory disease admitted to hospital as an emergency have hit a 10-year high in Wales, a charity has claimed.
The British Lung Foundation Wales said more than 46,000 patients were rushed to Welsh hospitals for lung disease - the nation's third-biggest killer - between 2010 and 2011.
A significant number of these patients suffered from the often under-diagnosed lung condition bronchiectasis.
Bronchiectasis is caused by damage to the bronchial tubes as a result of infection and inflammation, and is characterised by a build-up of mucus. Thanks to technological advances in higher-resolution CT scans, bronchiectasis is being increasingly diagnosed, with more than a 50% increase in the 10-year period to 2010-11.
Dr Jamie Duckers, a respiratory expert based at Llandough Hospital, near Penarth, said: "In bronchiectasis patients, we need to focus on improving or maintaining lung function, reducing exacerbations and improving quality of life.
"Patient education is of paramount importance, along with an individualised management plan. Patients should have access to a specialist respiratory physiotherapist, respiratory nurse, pulmonary rehabilitation programmes and GP exercise referral schemes."
David Taylor was diagnosed with the condition in 2006 after a GP referral for a CT scan.
The 70-year-old former technician, from Chepstow, currently sees a specialist every year and has been referred to a physiotherapist twice.
He said: "I had a lung abscess when I was 18 and had major surgery for that, but I had no problems until I was 56 when I had pneumonia but recovered from that.
"I have always been a walker and have been very active, doing things like gardening and DIY. When I retired I joined a walking group and we would do about nine miles when we went out.
"I found I could keep up with the others on the flats, but going uphill I could not get enough oxygen. …