People in the south east are more twice as likely to die from one type of lung condition than in a road accident, according to a recent study.
The problem is that a lack of funding mean doctors still don’t know what causes it.
The incurable condition called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) claimed 3,336 lives in the south east between 2008 and 2012, according to a study by the British Lung Foundation (BLF), far more than the number of road deaths in that period (1,423).
The disease causes continuous scarring of the lungs, making it increasingly difficult for a person to breathe.
It has no known cause, no cure, and the average life expectancy after diagnosis is just three years, a spokesperson for the foundation said.
The British Lung Foundation (BLF) has now announced at the start of IPF Awareness Week that it will put £300,000 into IPF research over the next 12-18 months, a quarter of its entire research budget.
This follows the revelations earlier this year that more than twice as many people are living with IPF (32,500) than figures from the Department of Health suggest, according to the BLF.
Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, said:
“We’re giving the equivalent of £300,000 to IPF research to help fight back against this devastating condition.
“I can only hope that people lend their support this week, so that IPF can benefit from the huge rise in awareness and research donations that has led to real progress being made in other deadly diseases.
“We’re also urging people not to ignore unusual breathlessness - its main symptom. If you get out of breath doing everyday things, take our online breath test to see if you might need to see a doctor.”
There are about 32,500 people are living with IPF, according to the foundation, and about 6,000 new cases are diagnosed a year
IPF week began yesterday and runs until next Sunday. For information members of the public can visit: www.blf.org.uk/ipf-week.
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