Trystan Roberts, 47, from Llanidloes, suffers with both asthma and COPD and was initially diagnosed after an infection in 2007
Trystan was initially diagnosed with asthma having suffering an attack after an initial chest infection got worse.
“I’m an ex-smoker but never had any issues with my breathing. In 2007 I had a chest infection; it was so bad I was hospitalised and put on oxygen,” said Trystan.
“While admitted things took a turn for the worse and I contracted pneumonia. It was then when I experienced my first ever asthma attack. After five days of care I left hospital with an asthma diagnosis – it was a huge shock.
“One minute I’m fine and the next I can’t even lift something without gasping for air. I was given medication after medication without any real answers. It was frustrating.”
Trystan continued to struggle with breathing issues for years before getting a further diagnosis and improvements in his health.
“I struggled with my breathing for around seven years before also being diagnosed with COPD. A nurse recommended pulmonary rehab; I had no idea what it was so took to YouTube to find out what it was.
"I was sceptical as I thought, exercise would make me worse as I struggle to breathe doing the simplest of tasks,” said Trystan.
“Due to the pandemic I had to wait two years for the course to restart. It was then done virtually which was great as I work night shifts. It really boosted my confidence and felt my health definitely improved. To think in some parts of Wales, people are currently waiting up to three years is a travesty.
“When you have lung conditions like mine, your health can change so quickly so waiting that long for treatment is not acceptable. People need help sooner to help keep them out of hospital.”
In the latest report by Asthma and Lung UK Cymru it has been revealed many people in Wales are suffering similar issues to Trystan with many “trapped in a vicious circle of late diagnosis, have limited access to vital treatments, and poor support to manage their conditions”.
The analysis commissioned by the charity found that despite lung conditions being the third biggest killer in Wales, simple diagnostic tests for common lung conditions aren’t widely available to GPs, creating delays and leading to misdiagnosis.
Their recommendations include ensuring diagnostic tests are funded, improving access to the right treatments such as pulmonary rehabilitation (PR), and providing people the support they need to manage their lung condition to keep them well and out of hospital and “would save significantly more than £19.5 million a year and free up just under 14,000 bed days, 5,000 of which would be during the winter period.”
Joseph Carter, Head of Asthma and Lung UK Cymru, said: “Winter is the deadliest season for people with lung conditions and diagnostic tests hold the key to giving someone an accurate diagnosis.
"Without these tests, many are missing out on the treatments they desperately need to live and stay well at home. People with lung conditions deserve better.”
“People living with a lung condition cannot afford to lose another year to inaction.
“There are huge savings to be made by improving the diagnosis and treatment of lung conditions such as asthma and COPD, in terms of direct NHS savings, including reducing hospital bed days. It doesn’t make sense that lung conditions aren’t given the same priority as other big killers such as heart disease.”