A question of breathlessness | Action Medical Research

Touching Lives - February 2008

A question of breathlessness

The intensity of the symptom varies, as does the type of discomfort. People also differ in how unpleasant they find their symptoms and how well they cope. Doctors have no straightforward way to assess all the different aspects of breathlessness. Its effect on people’s emotional well-being is regularly overlooked.Yet failing to capture the whole experience during assessment may mean large numbers of people receive inadequate treatment. Using funding from Action Medical Research, a project team from the University of Salford is testing a new questionnaire they devised, called the Dyspnoea-15 Questionnaire (Dyspnoea is the medical term for breathlessness). The questionnaire is the first of its kind to cover all aspects of breathlessness, including how it affects emotional well-being. Three hundred people are participating in the study to test the questionnaire’s validity and reliability and if the results are positive, it could one day be supplied free to health workers around the world. Using the questionnaire will help ensure people with different types of breathlessness receive the best treatment. It could also prove invaluable in the development of better therapies. The importance of the work has already been recognised by a major national award from the Royal College of Nursing

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