COPD is treatable for those who take control
(NC) No it's not cancer, but it might be the next big “C” word – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Currently, the fourth leading cause of death among Canadians and affecting almost 12 per cent of Ontarians aged 35 years and older, awareness of the disease remains low on the radar and continues to put strain on the healthcare system.
Largely caused by smoking, COPD is a potentially devastating respiratory disease that results in lung damage and obstructs, or 'blocks' the airways, making it difficult for a person to breathe.
In a recent study it was found that people living with COPD had rates of hospital, emergency department, and ambulatory care visits that were, respectively, 63 per cent, 85 per cent, and 48 per cent higher than the rest of the population. Additionally, their rates of long-term care and homecare use were 56 and 59 per cent higher, respectively.
“Although there is no cure for the disease, it is treatable at any stage of the illness,” says Dr. Alan Kaplan, a family physician with a special interest in respiratory medicine. “The earlier a person is diagnosed, the quicker we can get them on appropriate treatment to help improve their quality of life.”
It has been estimated that hospital admissions for COPD lung attacks average a 10-day stay with a cost associated at approximately $10,000. Furthermore, it is estimated that the total cost of COPD hospitalizations rings in at $1.5 billion annually.
Dr. Kaplan further adds, “Not only does early recognition improve quality of life, it also helps to alleviate the dependence on the healthcare system. With an established treatment program from the start, individuals will have better symptom control and hopefully will prevent lung attacks that are exacerbations that further deteriorate lung function and future prognosis.”
For more information speak to your doctor, pharmacist or other healthcare professional.
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Sources:O'Donnell DE. Hernandez P. Kaplan A. Aaron S. Bourbeau J. Marciniuk D. et al. Canadian Thoracic Society recommendations for management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – 2008 update –highlights for primary care. Can Respir J. 2008. 15(Suppl A):1A-8A.
Ontario Lung Association. BreathWorks™ [Internet]. 2012 [Updated 2011; cited 2013 May 27]. Available from: http://www.on.lung.ca/page.aspx?pid=448.
Gershon AS. Guan J. Victor JC. Goldstein R. To T. Quantifying Health Services Use for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2013. 187(6): 596-601.
Canadian Thoracic Society/Canadian Lung Association: The Human and Economic Burden of COPD. 2010. Accessed February 2012 at http://www.lung.ca/cts-sct/pdf/COPDReport_E.pdf.
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