At only 33 years old Kirsty was diagnosed last year with a lung disease caused by smoking. This is her story…
Can you imagine not being able to lift your arms above your head, or walk up a single flight of stairs without having to stop to take breaks to catch your breath? That’s the situation Kirsty now finds herself in, as she lives with the smoking related illness Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It’s particularly sad because Kirsty had already quit smoking, but the damage was already done.
I know that as a mum I run up and down the stairs multiple times every day (mainly because I’ve forgotten what I ran up there for in the first place). Living with a condition like this, with children to look after too, must be SO hard. And so frustrating, because it’s a condition that could easily be avoided by not smoking in the first place.
There are approximately 900,000 people in the UK diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, taking the form of emphysema or chronic bronchitis. It’s an irreversible disease which leaves the sufferer struggling for breath. It also accounts for 25,000 deaths in the UK every year.
I know giving up smoking is tough – my own dad smoked for many years and it was a huge relief when he finally quit for good. And quitting takes huge dedication. Most importantly, it needs to be you who decides to quit. The decision needs to be yours and yours alone – no amount of social pressure or nagging will stop you lighting up if you haven’t yet made it your goal to give up the cigarettes. But know this, although the damage to your lungs caused by smoking is irreversible, you can prevent it developing or getting worse by taking steps to stop smoking. It isn’t too late, hopefully.
If you’re looking for advice on giving up smoking then check out your local stop smoking service. If, like me, you’re in the South West, there is some great advice on the Smoke Free South West Facebook page.
If you’re still in need of encouragement, watch what Kirsty’s missing out on – a simple Sunday afternoon walk with the family is pretty much impossible…
Thank you to Smoke Free South West for commissioning this post. For more information please visit my Work With Me page.
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