Estimated 270,000 Irish people have COPD… but don’t know it 

by Alex Greaney
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Alex Greaney 

Ahead of World COPD Day on November 15th, Joan Johnston, General Manager, COPD Support Ireland, highlights the estimated 380,000 people with COPD in this country. 

She said: “Did you know that more than two-thirds of the 380,000 people estimated to have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, in Ireland, have absolutely no idea that they have the disease? 

“Most regrettably, there will likely be some reading this article who fall into this category. Indeed, according to the National Healthcare Quality Reporting System, between 2019 and 2021, there were 7,864 hospital admissions of people from Dublin due to COPD. 

“COPD is perhaps more commonly known as chronic bronchitis or emphysema. The sooner it is diagnosed and treated, the better the chances of preventing, or delaying, it from developing into severe COPD.

“If you have been experiencing ongoing breathlessness, have a cough that won’t go away, with or without phlegm, and are over the age of 35, then you are urged to seek a spirometry lung check. 

“Of course, exercise is one of the best things that we can do to improve our breathing and symptoms of COPD.” 

Only 110,000 people in Ireland are diagnosed with COPD with an estimated 380,000 Irish people suffering from COPD. 

Joan Johnston continues: “This World COPD Day, Wednesday November 15th, from 12 midday to 2pm, COPD Support Ireland will host a ‘Step Up and Step Out’ virtual COPD exercise masterclass. 

“The online event for people with COPD will feature exercise coaching, physical activity challenges, and presentations from experts with lots of tips on how to stay active. 

“To mark the day, people with COPD and their supporters are also being encouraged to take part in the COPD Step Challenge and set themselves a challenge of a target number of steps, individually or as part of a group.” 

To register for the “Step Up and Step Out” exercise masterclass, or to take part in the COPD Step Challenge, visit

if you have concerns about COPD, call the COPD Adviceline on Freephone 1800 832 146 (Mon-Fri, 9am to 5pm), to make an appointment to speak with a COPD specialist nurse or physiotherapist. 

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