Online Breathlessness Test Helps Determine If You Might Have A Chronic Illness

Breathlessness can be a sign of lung cancer and heart disease.

19/07/2016 12:03

Everybody gets out of breath now and then, but if it’s happening regularly then it could be a sign of something serious.

A recent report from Public Health England (PHE) revealed that roughly 1.7 million people in England could be living with undiagnosed lung cancer, lung disease or heart disease.

All of these illnesses can cause breathlessness. And all of them can prove fatal if not treated. 

To help you determine whether breathlessness should be on your health radar, the British Lung Foundation has created an online test that helps you determine whether you need to see a doctor. 

The test, which is featured below, asks a series of questions about your age, height, weight and lifestyle choices.

It then issues a personalised report suggesting whether you need to see your GP or not, with additional recommendations on how to improve your health.

The British Lung Foundation said breathlessness can be a sign of serious health problems including lung cancer, lung disease and heart disease.

Sandy Walmsley, lead respiratory nurse specialist and spokesperson for British Lung Foundation, said too many people dismiss breathlessness and, as such, don’t seek help.

“They think it’s a part of getting older,” she told the Mail Online. “They think they’re just unfit. They think they’re responsible. They don’t realise that help is available.”

She added: “The sooner people realise their breathlessness isn’t normal, the sooner they can see a doctor, get a diagnosis, and receive the treatment they need.

“Getting treatment sooner means they’ll recover better – and that can save a lot of NHS resources.”

PHE has recently launched a ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign urging people with a persistent cough, or those who get out of breath easily, to visit their GP.

In England, lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer, accounting for around 28,400 deaths each year.

Coronary heart disease is the single biggest cause of death, accounting for over 56,000 deaths in England each year. 


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PHE said that early diagnosis of these diseases has the potential to save lives and improve the quality of life of those living with chronic conditions.

As part of the campaign, actor Jeremy Sheffield, whose father had a form of heart disease, urged people to not brush off symptoms such as breathlessness.

He said: “My dad died seven years ago. He had a form of heart disease amongst other health complications. Like many men, he brushed off his symptoms and didn’t want to see the GP. He was trying to be brave and just put them down to old age.

“It’s so important the public is aware of the possible symptoms of more serious health conditions, such as heart disease, like feeling out of breath doing everyday things – it could be a sign of something more serious and your doctor will want to see you.

“You must also look out for each other, know the signs and if you spot them in a loved one, encourage them to visit their GP, it really could make all the difference.”

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