A NEW support group has been established for one of the most common complaints affecting patient across East Lancashire.

Extra support and advice on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is now available for sufferers in the Clitheroe area.

Shortness of breath in everyday situations, wheezing in winter and producing more sputum than usual can all be signs of COPD.

It is estimated there are around 10,000 sufferers in the area and it is recognised as a priority condition by clinical commissioners.

Under the banner of Breathe Easy, the Clitheroe group meets regularly at the town’s rugby union club in Littlemoor Road, joining a host of others locally.

An appeal for new members has also recently been issued by the Burnley group, which assembles at Turf Moor.

Dr Stuart Berry, lead GP for respiratory conditions at East Lancashire CCG, said: “They are a mixture of social club and support group for anyone who is living with COPD - including the relatives of people who have the condition.

“We know patients generally get a lot out of talking with other people who have the same condition as them. Other patients know exactly what you are going through and have a lot of experience to share.

“As well as making friends, and maybe trying out new activities, we also know that people who join Breathe Easy groups are less likely to end up needing to be admitted to hospital.”

The condition covers the likes of bronchitis and emphysema and is often linked to smoking. People wanting to find their local group can call a helpline, 03000 030 555, or e-mail the British Lung Foundation at helpline@blf.org.uk.