Speak Up for COPD

The SPEAK UP FOR COPD campaign is intended to raise awareness and understanding of COPD amongst the policymakers and healthcare decision makers by amplifying the voices of patients, the COPD community and the public. We have one critical goal: establish COPD as a public health priority.

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Günter, aged 67, is a retired businessman who was diagnosed with COPD in 2004. He is married with two children and is a proud grandfather. He is now President of the Austrian Lung Union.

Günter, aged 67, is a retired businessman who was diagnosed with COPD in 2004. He is married with two children and is a proud grandfather. He is now President of the Austrian Lung Union.

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In December 2004, Günter experienced a collapsed lung, also known as a pneumothorax, while on a trip to Vienna with his wife. Following emergency admission to hospital, he was diagnosed with COPD and bullous emphysema. Speaking about his COPD diagnosis, Günter explains, “I had never heard of COPD until I was diagnosed. When I was told I have COPD; I had to ask, what is this? Because I didn’t know.”

After being in hospital, Günter spent time educating himself on his condition. “I went online and got in touch with the Austrian Lung Union, where I was able to access information about COPD. ” Having felt ill-informed about his disease at diagnosis, he was motivated to set up a local branch of the Austrian Lung Union.

According to Günter, only a handful of respiratory specialists are available for a population of nearly 400,000 people in his region. Physical rehabilitation facilities are also lacking. He says, “There’s a sizeable number of between 40,000 and 60,000 people who have COPD here.”

“The biggest challenge with COPD is that you have to make sure that the disease does not worsen because COPD is a progressive disease.” Günter would like to see urgent improved access to specialists in his region, to help him and others like him continue to live the life they want for as long as possible.

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