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COPD 'as great a threat as the global economic crisis'

Chronic diseases such as COPD present as great a threat as the global financial crisis, claims the European COPD Coalition (ECC).

The organisation has urged collective action.

As part of its plea, the ECC has asked Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to make lung testing a "basic health right" for all across Europe and to place greater emphasis on training for healthcare professionals.

It is claimed COPD is still underdiagnosed in 75% of cases with research among healthcare professionals suggesting spirometry is either not being used or is being used ineffectively, leading to inaccurate results.

"For too long lung diseases like COPD have been ignored at a European level with other diseases taking priority," said Monica Fletcher, Chair of the European Lung Foundation (ELF) and a member of the ECC.

"With up to 10% of adults in Europe living with COPD , it's time for this to change.

"The number one focus must be on early diagnosis to ensure people are started on the correct treatments when they can still make a difference - and that includes keeping physically active."

The ECC has held the English example as one to be followed to help establish action plans on COPD across the EU.