Canadian Lung Association Blog

Monthly Archives: November 2015

5 minutes with Dr. Don Sin

Sin

What is the focus of your research? My research interests include finding new solutions to reduce the growing burden of COPD and new therapies to treat COPD-related co-morbidities such as cardiovascular disease. COPD is the fourth-leading cause of death in Canada and the number-one cause of hospital admissions.  On average, patients remain in hospital for 10 days at a cost of $10,000 per patient, with the total amount cost of such hospitalizations estimated to be more than $2 billion. And yet, despite being one of the most common lung diseases, COPD frequently remains undetected due to inadequate diagnostic tools. Part

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Posted in COPD, Research

5 minutes with Drs. Michael Brauer and Sarah Henderson

Brauer and Henderson

Why do research on the AirCare program? Vehicle emissions monitoring programs, such as AirCare, have been introduced in many parts of the world, but there have not been any studies describing how they impact public health. However, many studies have shown that life expectancy is shorter in cities with more air pollution, and there are more deaths on days when air pollution levels are high. It follows that programs like AirCare have the potential to prolong lives by reducing both the long-term and short-term air pollution exposures of people who live within the affected areas. What impact did AirCare have

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Posted in Air Quality, Lung Health, Research

Red hair, red scooter, a real attitude, and COPD. Meet Trish Verrier.

Trish Verrier COPD

Yesterday I met a remarkable person while visiting the COPD clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. Meet Trish Verrier. To see this vibrant 65 year old with hair as red as her scooter and a smile that lights up the room, one doesn’t detect any signs of the sadness or pain she’s endured. Nor does one hear many complaints – which says a lot considering her very serious, and sometimes scary, lung condition. I had to learn more. Trish grew up in Thunder Bay, where she had suffered neglect and abuse at the hands of her father, leaving no

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Posted in COPD, Lung Health, Stories

COPD support team gives as good as they get

Trish Verrier COPD

“I feel pretty lucky. I get to meet the most amazing people,” said respiratory nurse Beth Hutchins. Beth is one member of the St. Paul’s Hospital COPD Outreach Team, a pilot program aimed at helping COPD patients remain healthy and well at home or in their communities. “Many of our patients are living alone, without family around.  They’re vulnerable, even more so just after they’ve suffered a lung attack (an acute flare-up of COPD symptoms). So the sooner we can put home support in place, the better. Ideally this happens soon after they are released from the hospital.” The program

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Posted in COPD, Lung Health, Stories

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: The top five questions (and answers) from The Lung Association’s Lung Health Helpline

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I’ve just been diagnosed with COPD. What does that mean? COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It is largely caused by smoking, but it can also be caused by second-hand smoke, toxins in the environment that you breathe in, and genetics. COPD develops over time. In most cases, it is diagnosed in people over 40 years of age. Someone with COPD may not realize they are becoming more short of breath until it becomes very hard to do simple tasks like walking up stairs. When you have COPD, your lungs are obstructed or blocked, making

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Posted in COPD

5 minutes with Dr. Jeremy Hirota

Hirota

What’s the focus of your research? I study the relationship between the air we breathe and how this may impact airway diseases including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cystic fibrosis. Every day, we breathe more than 10,000 litres of air into our lungs just to survive. A variety of substances in the air can irritate the airways leading to coughing, wheezing, mucus production, and if bad enough, hospitalization. Unfortunately, for both healthy individuals and those suffering from airway diseases, it is difficult to control the air we breathe and we do not completely understand how poor air quality influences our

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Posted in Air Quality, Research

Clearing the Air: 5 Myths about Tobacco Addiction

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November 16 – 22 is Canada’s National Addictions Awareness Week and the BC Lung Association would like to acknowledge this week by addressing a number of persistent and dangerous myths about tobacco and tobacco addiction. 1) The damage is already done. No matter how old you are or how long you’ve smoked, absolutely everyone has something to gain from quitting tobacco. In general, the less you smoke and the sooner you quit, the better for your overall health. However that said, even long-term smokers can reap great rewards by quitting smoking. Recent research has shown that risk of premature death reduced

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Posted in Lung Health, Smoking & Tobacco

5 minutes with Dr. Mark FitzGerald

Fitzgerald

A champion of health literacy Many people have difficulty understanding and acting upon health information. This “low health literacy” has been linked to poorer management of chronic conditions, less use of preventive services, increased preventable hospitalizations, and worse overall health. Lung health community leader Dr. Mark FitzGerald is passionate about health literacy and is determined to tear down the historical barriers that limit effective communication. Working with colleague Dr. Iraj Poureslami, he invests significant time initiating and undertaking projects aimed at demonstrating the importance of investment in health literacy. Talk about your asthma literacy project. BC is home to 16 percent of all

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Posted in Lung Health, Research

5 minutes with Dr. Chris Carlsten

Carlsten

What’s the focus of your research? Our research focuses on the relationship between air pollution and public health. We look at how pollution particles affect the way genes are expressed in the body. One of our most recent studies demonstrated how two hours of exposure to diesel exhaust fumes can lead to fundamental health-related changes in biology by switching some genes on, while switching others off. How did your study work? We put volunteers in a polycarbonate-enclosed booth — about the size of a standard bathroom — while breathing in diluted and aged exhaust fumes that are about equal to

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Posted in Air Quality, Lung Health, Research

5 minutes with Dr. Pat Camp

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What is pulmonary rehabilitation? Pulmonary rehabilitation is a program of exercise, education, and support to help patients with chronic lung conditions learn to breathe—and function—at the highest level possible. A typical program lasts six to eight weeks. We spend about half the time on physical exercise, and the rest providing information and tips about living with a lung condition and getting the best out of life. Topics include breathing techniques, how to manage stress, healthy eating, proper use of inhalers and medicines, and what to do when you’re experiencing a symptom flare-up. It’s a proven treatment that works, but is

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Posted in Lung Health, Research