Expanded Disease Education and Rehabilitation Crucial for Albertans' Lung Health

"Breathing Matters" clinic engages Legislators in understanding the importance of lung health

EDMONTON, May 15, 2013 /CNW/ - The Lung Association of Alberta & Northwest Territories brought its "Breathing Matters" lung health clinic to the Alberta Legislature today, to ensure MLAs were aware of the high prevalence of lung disease, the importance of early diagnosis, and the need for improved education and respiratory care.  Patients, caregivers and medical experts joined The Lung Association to ask government for their continued support for lung health, and expanded education and rehabilitation programs for the estimated 600,000 Albertans living with lung disease.

"The lung health issues we are facing today foreshadow the crises we will be facing tomorrow. The predictions are unnerving, and the estimated health costs are staggering.  But the true impact is the growing number of our family, friends, neighbours who will struggle - simply trying to do what we all take for granted - breathe," said Kate Hurlburt, Volunteer Chair, Board of Directors, The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT, and caregiver to her mother who is living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). "Now we are relying on our leaders to learn, to act and help us all breathe easier."

"The impact of lung disease is felt by individuals, their families, our communities and our health system," said Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne.  "I thank The Lung Association for its tireless efforts to educate Albertans about the importance of managing their lung health, and for its continuing partnership with our government."

A highlight of The Lung Association's "Breathing Matters" lung health clinic included demonstrations of the Spirometry test, which measures an individual's lung capacity, and medical experts were on-hand to view and discuss results.  The Honourable George VanderBurg, Associate Minister of Seniors, was first in line at the "Breathing Matters" clinic to take a Spirometry test and learn about lung disease.

"Educating Albertans about lung disease has been shown to positively impact health outcomes, and as a government we have an important role to play in helping to raise awareness among our colleagues and our constituents," said Minister VanderBurg. "Our government is proud to continue working in close partnership with The Lung Association in this province towards the ultimate goal of healthy lungs for all Albertans."

The clinic was created to speak to the high prevalence of lung diseases, such as Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), in Alberta.  It aims to increase awareness and underscore current challenges faced by patients in Alberta by outlining the importance of early detection, lung capacity and its significance.  Disease education and respiratory rehabilitation have been shown to improve health outcomes for those affected by lung disease, and have a positive impact on the healthcare system overall.

"Although the challenge is great, the respiratory community is united in its mission to deliver the highest quality of care to patients with lung disease in Alberta," said Dr. Mohit Bhutani, Associate Professor of Respiratory Medicine at the University of Alberta and member of Alberta Health Services' Respiratory Clinical Network, COPD Working Group.  "The successes of the Respiratory Clinical Network, funded through Alberta Health Services, are examples of this commitment."

About The Lung Association
Since 1939, The Lung Association has been involved in raising and allocating funds for critical research, advocacy regarding public policy, providing patient support, and being a primary source for information regarding lung health.  It is the association's belief that increasing awareness of the issues surrounding lung health is imperative.  Understanding how lung disease may be prevented and/or managed is critical to reducing the number of Albertans affected by lung disease as well as its impact on the health care system.

SOURCE: The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT

For further information:

Bronwyn Petersen, Public Relations Coordinator 
The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT 
bpetersen@ab.lung.ca 
780-616-1746

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The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT

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