This debilitating lung condition is still under the radar compared to more commonly recognised health issues, with experts calling for public awareness campaigns The world is in the grip of a disease that causes the deaths of millions of people every year but has received less attention than other well-known conditions. Around the globe people are struggling with a respiratory problem that ravages their lungs and leaves them struggling for breath or dependent on oxygen. It is hard to detect, cases are rising and patients are often diagnosed very late, when already seriously ill. Many sufferers get progressively worse and too many of them die. The situation might sound familiar, but the disease being described is not Covid-19. It is COPD, and it is serious and deadly. Yet how many people truly understand what it is? How many are even familiar with the name? COPD might just be the most significant disease you’ve never heard of.
Millions of people are struggling with a lung disease that still receives too little attention. Elina Ikavalko suffers from the lung condition COPD, a severe respiratory disease that is under-prioritized and therefore under-funded, under-recognized and under-treated. She is one of 384 million people affected worldwide and COPD dominates her life. “The lack of oxygen makes me very tired on a daily basis, really,” she says. “Yesterday I went out for a walk, and it was just terrible. I couldn't catch my breath at all.” The 33-year-old cybersecurity consultant, who is originally from Finland, lives near Dublin. She was diagnosed with severe emphysema and COPD at the age of 26.