1 IN 5 DEATHS DUE TO LUNG DISEASE; Ireland at No3 in EU fatality rates league.
ONE in five deaths in Ireland are because of lung disease, one of the worst ratios in Europe.
A report found Ireland has the third highest fatality rate from the condition, while one in seven people have an undiagnosed lung complaint.
Respiratory consultant Dr Edward McKone said: "Our high prevalence, death and hospital admission rates, coupled with high levels of undiagnosed lung disease, can be attributed to a number of factors.
"But awareness of how to prevent and manage lung disease and identify early warning signs is key.
"We tend to associate exercise with cardiac health, losing weight or preventing diabetes but exercise is also very important for the lungs, whether you are healthy or have a lung condition."
The figures were revealed by the Irish Lung Health Alliance as they launched a campaign to promote lung health through prevention and early diagnosis.
A n increasing prevalence of conditions, such as asthma and cystic fibrosis, as well as high hospital admission rates for chronic c obstructive pulmonary disease and respiration infection all added to our high mortality rate, the report found.
Ireland also has the lowest number of adult and trainee respiratory physicians at 1.3 per 100,000, compared with the European average of 4.4 per 100,000.
Campaign ambassador Olympic Gold medallist Dr Ronnie Delany added: "As an athlete I have a great appreciation of the vital role of the lungs.
"Keeping active - whether walking, running or simply working in the garden - can contribute greatly to our general well-being and is particularly beneficial to the lungs."
The alliance is staging a series of free public lectures in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Sligo, beginning tomorrow, as part of the campaign.
People are advised to book early at www.lunghealth.ie.
Dr McKone added: "We would encourage the public to attend to learn more about their lungs and the simple steps they can take to maintain health."
Awareness of how to prevent and manage warning signs is key DR EDWARD MCKONE RESPIRATORY EXPERT