THE FIRST step for those newly diagnosed with lung disease should be giving up smoking, Swindon COPD sufferers were told.

“If you stop smoking you slow the progress of the disease right down,” said Amanda Horton, clinical lead for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease at Great Western Hospital.

And at an event for COPD patients at GWH on Thursday night, Ms Horton urged people to keep a close eye on the progress of their condition.

“We all know it’s more and more difficult to see your GP,” she said. But it was important for people with lung disease to set aside advertising campaigns warning those with minor coughs and colds against visiting their doctor, as small problems could quickly snowball.

As well as giving up the cigarettes, those diagnosed with COPD should ensure their flu jabs were up to date, try pulmonary rehabilitation – essentially exercises to boost lung capacity – and draw up a plan to manage symptoms like shortness of breath.