NEWS
06/07/2017 00:01 BST | Updated 06/07/2017 18:44 BST

Over 50s Reluctant To Go To Doctor With Lung Problems, Says Poll

Older adults are more likely to encourage others to see the doctor for symptoms of lung problems than go themselves, a new poll suggests

A survey of 3,000 English adults over the age of 50 found that 86% would urge friends and family to see their GP for a persistent cough or if they were getting out of breath doing things they used to be able to do.

But only 67% would contact the GP themselves if they experienced these symptoms.

The poll was released to mark a new Public Health England (PHE) campaign which aims to encourage people to see a GP if they have breathlessness or a persistent cough.

The health body said there are more than 150,000 deaths from lung cancer, lung disease and heart disease each year. 

Getting out of breath doing things you used to be able to do, or having a cough that lasts for three weeks or more could be a sign of lung disease. Breathlessness can also be a sign of heart disease.

"Breathlessness and a persistent cough are symptoms that can be easily ignored or put down to getting older, or seen as just minor health niggles," said Professor Julia Verne, clinical lead for Public Health England.

"But these symptoms can be warning signs and it is really important to get them checked out by a doctor.

"People are more likely to urge others to seek medical help for these symptoms than to speak to a GP themselves. If anyone has concerns, we would encourage them to seek medical advice, as getting help early rather than waiting until the problem gets worse is vital.

"Early diagnosis saves lives and can improve quality of life for people with long-term conditions, so if you find yourself getting out of breath doing things you used to be able to do, or if you have a cough that has lasted for three weeks or more, get it checked out."