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More support for patients with lung problems

More support for patients with lung problems

Published at 4:28pm 30th November 2015. (Updated at 5:40pm 30th November 2015)

Two new specialist nurses at Airedale Hospital are helping people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Colette Scully and Sophie Carrow have set up a service due to more people having the disease in the Bradford and Airedale area compared to the national average.

The respiratory physiotherapists run eight-week pulmonary rehabilitation classes at Castleberg Hospital in Settle and at the St John Ambulance centre in Skipton.

The sessions include walking and using weights, as well as discussions about medication, how the lungs work, psychological and physical effects of the disease and diet.

70-year-old Ludwig Schicketanz has suffered from COPD for the last eight years and was diagnosed with emphysema three years ago.

Due to his COPD, he quickly becomes exhausted and has to frequently rest whilst walking.

He said: "The exercises helped me a lot and sharing experiences with the four other members of the group was very enlightening.

"A few people referred me to the classes and at first I was very reluctant to participate, as it's not something I would normally do, but they were very useful and I would definitely encourage other people to go."

For half a century, Ludwig has been smoking three packets of cigarettes a day, but he kicked the habit six months ago and very quickly noticed a major improvement in his health.

He's now taken up running on a machine at home until he's out of breath, which gives him more energy and is improving the capacity of his lungs which has been reduced to 30% due to his illness.

The specialist nurses are aiming to help patients stay well at home and avoid both unnecessary hospital admissions and visits to the Emergency Department.

The nurses also provide educational sessions for health workers and are setting up a local network to provide professionals with easy access to information, advice and best practice in respiratory care.

It's estimated that there are more than two million people living with COPD in the UK who have not been diagnosed.