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Students urge York residents to breathe easier with free lung tests

Staff and students at York St John University are providing free lung tests to York residents between 25 and 29 June to mark World Spirometry Day 2012 (Wednesday 27 June).

Lung disease is among the leading causes of death across the globe, and numbers are rising mainly due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer and tuberculosis. 

The Harsh reality is that one person dies every 20 minutes from COPD in England and Wales, that’s around 25,000 people per year, making it the UK’s fifth biggest killer disease.  However, many lung diseases are preventable, or could be better controlled at an early stage if diagnosed or detected via spirometry testing. 

Paul Humphrey, lecturer in Physiotherapy at York St John University, is a specialist in this area having worked as a clinical specialist respiratory physiotherapist prior to his role in higher education.  Paul held a variety of senior physiotherapy positions in the critical care setting and the respiratory care of the chronically ill patient.  Paul said: “COPD is one of the country’s hidden killers.  In Yorkshire and the Humber it is estimated that 43% of COPD sufferers remain undiagnosed, there are also significant numbers of misdiagnosis. 

“Our aim is to raise awareness of spirometry testing and to encourage York residents to get checked.  Early diagnosis can have a huge impact on a patient’s life as it enables them to manage their condition themselves and get the treatment they need, this can include appropriate medication, exercise and physiotherapy to limit the course of the lung disease and breathlessness and improve quality of life and exercise capacity.” 

Physiotherapy students from York St John University will be running the event with lecturer Paul Humphrey.  If the test results raise concern, participants will be given a letter to take to their doctor. YSJActive, the University’s sport, exercise and wellbeing department will also be available to offer free lifestyle advice.  Paul adds: “We want to encourage as many people as we can to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle; it’s something the students are very passionate about.  Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. People with lung problems often fear that exercise will make breathlessness worse, but regular physical exercise is proven to be the best treatment.”

Everyone is welcome to drop in for a free spirometry test, especially those who are worried about their lung health or have had difficulty with breathlessness, coughing or sputum production.  Free spirometry tests will take place at York St John University 10am – 4pm on

Monday 25 June; 9am – 12 noon on Tuesday 26 June; 8am – 6pm on Wednesday 27 June, which is World Spirometry Day; and between 1pm and 4pm on Friday 29 June. 

To pre-book an appointment please call 01904 876300 or email ysjactive@yorksj.ac.uk, or please feel free to just drop in.