South Scotland MSP and Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) parliamentary champion Colin Smyth helped launch Asthma + Lung UK Scotland, formerly Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Scotland, outside the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.
New analysis from the charity shows that over 7,000 people in Scotland are dying every year from lung conditions.
Lung disease is one of the top three killers in Scotland, with one in five people diagnosed with a lung condition at some point in their lives. Analysis from Asthma + Lung UK Scotland shows that each year in Scotland more than 7,000 people are dying from lung conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and interstitial lung disease.
IPF is a type of lung disease that results in scarring (fibrosis) of the lungs for an unknown reason. Over time, the scarring gets worse and it becomes hard to take in a deep breath and the lungs cannot take in enough oxygen.
The subject is personal for Colin, whose father died in 2013 from heart failure and IPF.
Approximately 2,500 people in Scotland are living with IPF and across the UK, an estimated 6,000 are diagnosed with it every year.
Speaking outside of the Scottish Parliament, Colin Smyth said: “It was a privilege to meet with Asthma + Lung UK Scotland and people living with lung conditions, at the Scottish Parliament. I am grateful for the work Asthma + Lung UK Scotland is doing to support the one in five diagnosed with a lung condition as they fight for better lung health across Scotland.
“I have the privilege of being Asthma + Lung UK Scotland’s champion for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.
“It’s a condition I’d never heard of until my own dad was diagnosed with IPF. It sadly contributed to his death just a few months after that diagnosis.
“Years on, there’s still a lack of awareness, a lack of research and a lack of treatment for IPF and we need to change that.
“Any person who has concerns about their lung health should see a GP where possible or visit www.asthmaandlung.org.uk or call the Asthma + Lung UK helpline on 0300 222 5800.”
Joseph Carter, Head of Asthma + Lung UK Scotland said:
“It was great that MSPs across the party divide engaged with us to help support our new name and strategy.
“Sadly, the state of lung health in Scotland is shameful with over 7,000 lives lost every year.
“For far too long lung conditions have been treated like the poor relation compared to other major illnesses like cancer and heart disease, with only 2% of publicly funded research spent on understanding them and finding treatments, and negative attitudes preventing people getting early diagnoses, treatment and care. We need urgent action now.
“We need more NHS funding so people can be better diagnosed more quickly, enabling them to go on to receive the appropriate treatment and care they need.
“We are campaigning for lung health to be treated as a national priority and fight for a Scotland where everyone can breathe clean air with healthy lungs.”