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Respiratory diseases: breathing well must become a fundamental right

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Bchronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, rare respiratory diseases (cystic fibrosis, alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, etc.), asthma and allergies… Unrecognized and multifactorial, these diseases affecting the respiratory tract today affect nearly 10 million French at all ages, sometimes very harshly.

If Tobacco-Free Month is an opportunity to recall that, each year, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death, other factors at the origin of respiratory diseases deserve particular attention: the problems posed by climate change, pollution and respiratory infectious diseases, recurrent like the flu, or emerging, like what we are experiencing today with the Covid-19 pandemic, call for urgent collective mobilization.

Representing 27 organizations of patients, users and health professionals, the collective of the Estates General on Respiratory Health and the parliamentarians who support this cause call on political forces and citizens to recognize respiratory diseases.

Making invisible diseases visible

Unaware of the symptoms and minimizing the risks due to a lack of communication and global strategy, the population is helpless in the face of the challenges of respiratory health, as shown by a study carried out by Ipsos in 2021. When 52% of the population encounters recurring respiratory problems , only 3 out of 10 French people believe they have a high risk of contracting a respiratory disease one day.

Worse still, the majority of people with severe daily respiratory symptoms have never been diagnosed. This lack of consultation echoes a lack of knowledge about these pathologies, which urgently needs to be addressed. Is it normal that in France, 60% of the population believes they have no idea about respiratory diseases?

Faced with these diseases with multiple risk factors and going hand in hand with environmental health, we are convinced that it is useful to act for the French in all their living environments: at home, at work, outdoors, in order to promote behaviors and environments conducive to “breathing well”.

We call for putting respiratory health at the heart of health priorities in order to increase the visibility and prevention of respiratory diseases and to improve the care pathway for sick people.

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