Low socio-economic status impacts lung health
November 24, 2008 --The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) released a report today on the health disparity related to low socio-economic status. The report showed that for the cities of Regina and Saskatoon, the disparity in hospitalization rates were higher for COPD than any other chronic disease.
In Regina, people with low socio-economic status were 4.7 times more likely to be hospitalised with COPD compared to those with high socio-economic status. This was the highest disparity found across Canada. In Saskatoon, the ratio was 3.4 times.
The Lung Association, in partnership with health regions, has been helping to expand COPD rehabilitation programs to areas that are more accessible for people with low socio-economic status.
Childhood asthma was also examined in the CIHI Report. Hospitalizations for children with asthma were 90% higher in the low socio-economic segment in Regina and 30% higher in Saskatoon.
In 2008, The Lung Association of Saskatchewan initiated an asthma pilot project in inner-city schools in Saskatoon.Â Our Certified Respiratory Educators make weekly visits to deliver asthma education and conduct spirometry, a breathing test used to diagnose asthma.
The report also examined risk factors for health and showed that smoking was 1.8 times higher in those with low socio-economic status. Higher rates of smoking lead to higher rates of COPD. Exposure of children to second-hand smoke is associated with higher rates of asthma.
The high rates of smoking found in the low socio-economic segment are an indication that we need to be more innovative in programs to help people quit smoking. New strategies must be developed that are specifically designed to work with the groups who need the most help.
The Lung Association agrees with the CIHI findings that much more work must be done to reduce the gap in health due to socio-economic status. We commend CIHI for its work on this report.Â The broad range of health conditions affected by low socio-economic status shows that we need to do more than address the individual diseases and conditions. Agencies must work together on common problems and integrated approaches to chronic disease management must be used. Society must recognize that fighting poverty improves health.
The Lung Association of Saskatchewan, the oldest health charity in our province, is proactive in the area of respiratory health for the benefit of Saskatchewan residents. We focus on the enormous cost in terms of human suffering and economic impact of lung disease.Â Â We provide leadership and pragmatic solutions in the areas of research, education, community programs, and advocacy to meet the challenging and changing needs of lung health in our population.Â Â Please visit our website at www.sk.lung.ca.
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