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Take the Lung Test...

The Reminder is making its archives back to 2003 available on our website. Please note that, due to technical limitations, archive articles are presented without the usual formatting.

The Reminder is making its archives back to 2003 available on our website. Please note that, due to technical limitations, archive articles are presented without the usual formatting.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the few leading causes of death that is on the rise, and by 2020 is expected to be the third-leading cause of death worldwide. In Canada, more than 500,000 people over the age of 35 have been diagnosed with COPD, and it is estimated that an almost equal number of middle-aged Canadians may also have COPD, but are not aware of it. Despite its prevalence, a recent Ipsos-Reid poll conducted October 28-30, 2003 uncovered that only eight per cent of Canadians know what COPD is. On November 19, World COPD Day, The Lung Association and its medical section, the Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS) are responding by introducing a self-assessment tool, The Canadian Lung Health Test. "Our goal at The Lung Association is to help Canadians recognize COPD symptoms so they can initiate discussions with their physician," says Alan McFarlane, Chair of the National COPD Working Group. "And through the introduction of new treatment guidelines for healthcare professionals and The Canadian Lung Health Test, the CTS aims to optimize early diagnosis, prevention and management of COPD in Canada." At a yearly cost of $1.67 billion to the Canadian healthcare system, COPD is a devastating, chronic disease that progressively restricts a person's ability to breathe. Better known as chronic bronchitis or emphysema, COPD symptoms include: coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. The sooner it is diagnosed the sooner a person can begin to manage his/her health and improve his/her quality of life. As Baby Boomers continue to age, The Lung Association warns that the prevalence of COPD will increase and will seriously impact on our healthcare system as well as families. Lorraine Leblanc knows what it is like to live with COPD. "COPD is a disease that affects every part of your life," says Lorraine. "Years ago, when I started having bouts of shortness of breath Ñ when simple daily activities became challenges Ñ I realized something was wrong. My doctor told me I had emphysema, one of the main diseases of COPD. That's the only information I was given at the time, but with the rehabilitation I have gone through and the resources I have received from The Lung Association, I am now able to manage my COPD." The Canadian Lung Health Test To help Canadians recognize the symptoms of COPD and encourage early diagnosis, The Lung Association and the CTS are introducing a new self-assessment tool, The Canadian Lung Health Test. If you are over 40 and currently smoke cigarettes, or have smoked in the past, you may be at risk for developing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (also known as COPD, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema). If you are concerned about your lung health, take the test below. Answer 'yes' or 'no' to each of the following five questions: 1. Do you cough regularly? Yes ___ No ___ 2. Do you cough up phlegm regularly? Yes ___ No ___ 3. Do even simple chores make you short of breath? Yes ___ No ___ 4. Do you wheeze when you exert yourself, or at night? Yes ___ No ___ 5. Do you get frequent colds that persist longer than those of other people you know? Yes ___ No ___ If you answered "YES" to two or more of these questions, you should speak to your physician about taking a simple breathing test