The sooner you blow, the sooner you know!
Lung Association wants those at risk for lung disease to get tested
Saskatoon, SK, October 14, 2011 – A simple breathing test, called spirometry, can check for serious lung disease, yet only 26 per cent of current and former Canadian smokers over age 40 are aware of it, according to a new poll released by the Canadian Lung Association. To remedy the situation, the Canadian Lung Association is launching its 10,000 Breaths campaign today to help those at risk for lung disease to get tested.
"Our target is to motivate 10,000 Canadians to have their lungs tested. Across Canada, we are hosting free breathing tests from October 14 until the end of November," says Heather Borquez, CEO and president of the Canadian Lung Association. "If you or someone you know is having difficulty breathing or experiencing shortness of breath, getting tested is an essential first step. Ask your doctor for a spirometry test."
"Spirometry is one of the most effective ways to test your lungs for COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; the new name for chronic bronchitis and emphysema) and asthma. It is a painless test that takes only a few minutes," says Dr. Allan Coates, a medical spokesperson for the Canadian Lung Association on pulmonary function and a pediatric respirologist at Hospital for Sick Children.
During a spirometry test, you breathe hard into a machine (a spirometer) that measures how much air you can move out of your lungs and how fast you can blow it out.
His Worship Donald J. Atchison, Saskatoon Mayor performs a spirometry test with Jill Hubick, a nurse from the Lung Association of Saskatchewan.
"The earlier the test is performed, the earlier the lung disease can be detected and treated," says Dr. Coates, who chairs a committee on pulmonary function for the Canadian Thoracic Society, the medical section of the Canadian Lung Association.
Smokers and ex-smokers over age 40 are at higher risk for COPD
Polling results found that more smokers and formers smokers over age 40 in British Columbia (32%) and Manitoba/Saskatchewan (31%) than in any other province know what a spirometry test is. In contrast, Quebec (21%) holds the lowest proportion of respondents aware of this test. Former smokers (27%) are marginally more likely than current smokers (24%) to be aware of what a spirometry test is.
"Unfortunately, there are too many people who have COPD but are undiagnosed. They suffer from symptoms, such as shortness of breath, cough with or without phlegm, wheeze, frequent chest infections, and having a hard time doing regular activities like walking," says Dr. Paul Hernandez, who chairs a committee on COPD for the Canadian Thoracic Society. "With early diagnosis and treatment, this serious lung disease can be managed so patients can breathe better and enjoy life more."
To learn more about spirometry or to find a local spirometry clinic, visit www.lung.ca or call 1-866-717-COPD (2673) to speak with a certified respiratory educator at the Lung Association.
About The Lung Association
Established in 1911, The Lung Association is Saskatchewan’s oldest health charity. Just like the Saskatchewan Roughriders, we are 100 years old! You have come to know and trust The Lung Association as the premier source for lung health in our province. All of our quality educational materials, programs, services and treatment guidelines are based on current evidence-based research. You will find The Lung Association active in communities across Saskatchewan conducting lung disease prevention and management programs that include asthma, COPD, sleep apnea, lung cancer and smoking cessation. The Lung Association also provides training for health care professionals, delivers health education in schools, facilitates patient support groups, and lobbies for clean air.
For more information, please contact:
Marion Laroque or Bernie Bolley
Certified Respiratory Educators
Lung Association of Saskatchewan